U.Va. Drama Department Takes a Radical Modern Approach to the 60's Musical 'Hair'

April 06, 2007
April 6, 2007 -- The U.Va. Drama Department ends its 2006-07 season with a bold production of the classic 1960's musical Hair. Using the original book & lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot, U.Va. Drama's version of Hair captures the spirit of the show but sets it in the context of modern society. This exciting theatrical happening plays in the Culbreth Theatre at 8 p.m. April 19-21 and 25-28.

A response to the Vietnam War, the original 1968 production of Hair broke the bounds of theater and questioned society's definition of decency by putting drug use, nudity, and rebellion on stage.  Nearly forty years later, however, controversy has become nostalgia.  Modern audiences might call Hair a period piece: a chance to revisit the 60's, hear great tunes, and chuckle at barefoot, flower power hippies. To the iPod generation, Hair probably seems as relevant as a dusty stack of record albums.

But a look at today's headlines confirms that Hair's themes are all too timeless.  Guest director Thadd McQuade rejects the staleness of long-haired hippies nude on stage, seeing this countercultural musical as pertinent, even necessary, to today's audiences. According to McQuade, U.Va.'s production capitalizes on the daring social and theatrical ideas inherent in Hair and "peels back the layers of nostalgia and fashion to reveal a play just as revolutionary in how it worked as how it looked.   Hair was built using techniques from the avante-garde worlds of theater and art, tracing their lineage back to John Cage, Dada, and the Futurists.  You won't see love-beads, but you will see revolutionary theater…the joyful confrontation of the birth of the rock musical." McQuade quips, "This is not your father's Hair."

Tickets for Hair are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors and $10 for students, however tickets for full-time U.Va. students are free when purchased with ART$ Dollars. For more information visit the Drama Department Web site at http://www.virginia.edu/drama, or call the Drama Department Box Office at 434-924-3376. The box office is open from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

PARKING UPDATE:  Due to construction projects which will improve parking in the future, there is currently no parking in the lots adjacent to the Drama Building.  The closest available parking will be in the Peyton House lot (off Rugby Road, across from the University Art Museum); along University Way (above Lambeth Field); along Gordon, Grady & University Aves.; and in the Newcomb Hall Parking Garage.  Please allow ample time to park and walk to the Drama Building.  A map with alternate parking suggestions is available at our box office.