The Artist Series Brings Hair to Jville April 10, 2013

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The Artist Series brings Jim Rado and Gerome Ragni's "Hair" to downtown Jacksonville, rock music, nudity and all. Still a revolutionary show after 40 years, the tour will be making a one night stand in Jacksonville on the 10th of April. The Music is still relevant, poignant and germaine to the present day, and this show is wowing even jaded critics. Check out the details after the jump!

Age of Aquarius, one of the most recognizeable anthems from the show.

JACKSONVILLE, FL – HAIR: a celebration of peace and love!, the 2009 Tony Award-Winning Best Musical Revival directed by Diane Paulus, comes to Jacksonville’s Times- Union Center’s Moran Theater for one performance only on Wednesday, April 10th at 7:30PM!

With an iconic score including chart-topping hits such as “Let the Sun Shine In,” Aquarius,” “Hair,” and “Good Morning Starshine,” HAIR energetically depicts the birth of a cultural movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s that changed America forever.  The musical follows a group of charismatic, free-spirited young people who passionately preach a lifestyle of pacifism and free-love in a society riddled with intolerance and brutality during the Vietnam War.  HAIR’s powerful message resonates as much today as it did 40 years ago when the show opened on Broadway.

Tickets for HAIR start at $32.00 and are available at the Artist Series Box Office between 10AM-5PM, Monday-Friday, at (904) 442-BWAY (2929) and online 24/7 at  Discounts are available for groups of 10 or more at (904) 442-2947 or

This critically-acclaimed revival of HAIR became a theatrical tour de force in its limited engagement in Central Park, later moving to Broadway where it won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival as well as the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical.  Directed by Diane Paulus, who also directed the Tony Award-winning revival of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, and choreographed by Karole Armitage, HAIR features a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado with music by Galt MacDermot.

“HAIR feels utterly of the moment in its power to move us. There’s nothing like it.” Bloomberg News enthused. Variety exclaimed, “If this explosive production doesn’t stir something in you, it may be time to check your pulse,” and The Washington Post calls this production of HAIR, “Irresistible…the best version yet!”

This inspiring new production of HAIR, which features an exuberant finale where audiences are invited onstage to dance with the cast, has a level of inclusiveness that is rarely seen in musical theater.  Executive producer, Daniel Sher, notes that, “We are excited for audiences across the country to take this journey with us.  See for yourself, let your hair down, and share the love!”

HAIR is for mature audiences.  While many find this show suitable for young adults (13 and older), parental discretion is advised.  There is a dimly lit 20-second scene with nudity that is non-sexual in nature.  Additional show information can be found at

To order by phone with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover call The Artist Series Box Office at (904) 442-BWAY (2929)
(toll-free outside of Jacksonville 1-888-860-BWAY)
Tickets are also available online with Instant Seat Selection by visiting the The Artist Series’ website:

The original poster for Hair"

The History of Hair

The roar heard at the Biltmore Theatre on April 29, 1968, was the zeitgeist of the ‘60s infiltrating Broadway. The occasion was the opening night of Hair. Clive Barnes, theater critic for The New York Times, enthusiastically called the show “the first Broadway musical in some time to have the authentic voice of today rather than the day before yesterday.” He was alluding to the fact that this self-described “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” reflected the taste of the young generation; the score sounded like the popular music being played on the radio. What the groundbreaking show didn’t sound like was any other Broadway musical.    

It’s almost incomprehensible today, when rock musicals are so much a part of the fabric of American culture, that there was a time, not terribly long ago, when the idea of a rock musical on Broadway seemed outlandish, implausible. But when James Rado and the late Gerome Ragni, who wrote the book and lyrics for Hair, initially tried to interest Broadway producers in the show, no one wanted anything to do with it. It wasn’t just the sound of the show that was different; it was the very essence of the very unstructured material: a tribe of hippies singing, sometimes profanely, about their dreams and fears and concerns – not to mention sex and drugs – seemed out of place on Broadway. And that was precisely why Rado and Ragni set their sights on Broadway. “We wanted to reach the uptown crowd and shake things up,” says Rado. “The subject matter was unlike anything that had been done on Broadway.”  

Through an agent, they sent the script to a number of producers. There were no takers. Those same producers likely regretted their decision, as the original Broadway production of Hair played 1750 performances and ran for more than four years. And the show’s timelessness was validated when the recent production, directed by Diane Paulus, won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The characters onstage may be hippies, but their experiences and emotions speak to all generations, and resonate powerfully in these uncertain times.

The touring company of Hair met with resistance throughout the United States. In South Bend, Indiana, the Morris Civic Auditorium refused booking, and in Evansville, Indiana, the production was picketed by several church groups. In Indianapolis, Indiana, the producers had difficulty securing a theater, and city authorities suggested that the cast wear body stockings as a compromise to the city's ordinance prohibiting publicly displayed nudity. Productions were frequently confronted with the closure of theaters by the fire marshal, as in Gladewater, Texas. Chattanooga's 1972 refusal to allow the play to be shown at the city-owned Memorial Auditorium was later found by the U.S. Supreme Court to be an unlawful prior restraint.

The legal challenges against the Boston production were appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Chief of the Licensing Bureau took exception to the portrayal of the American flag in the piece, saying, "anyone who desecrates the flag should be whipped on Boston Common." Although the scene was removed before opening, the District Attorney's office began plans to stop the show, claiming that "lewd and lascivious" actions were taking place onstage. The Hair legal team obtained an injunction against criminal prosecution from the Superior Court, and the D.A. appealed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. At the request of both parties, several of the justices viewed the production and handed down a ruling that "each member of the cast [must] be clothed to a reasonable extent." The cast defiantly played the scene nude later that night, stating that the ruling was vague as to when it would take effect. The next day, April 10, 1970, the production closed, and movie houses, fearing the ruling on nudity, began excising scenes from films in their exhibition. After the Federal appellate bench reversed the Massachusetts court's ruling, the D.A. appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. In a 4–4 decision, the Court upheld the lower court's decision, allowing Hair to re-open on May 22.

In April 1971, a bomb was thrown at the exterior of a theater in Cleveland, Ohio that had been housing a production, bouncing off the marquee and shattering windows in the building and in nearby storefronts.[141] That same month, the families of cast member Jonathon Johnson and stage manager Rusty Carlson died in a fire in the Cleveland hotel where 33 members of the show's troupe had been staying. The Sydney, Australia production's opening night was interrupted by a bomb scare in June 1969

Despite the drama, the violence and the outrage, Hair has gone on to be one of the cultural arkstones of the era, and perhaps the most familiar cultural documentation of the hippie era before the Summer of Love.  It has survived Cronkite, Nixon, McNamara, and the people and things that reacted so explosively against it.

The revival is considerably different from the original Broadway production, which was quite different from the first off-Broadway production at New York’s Public Theater. The premise and the characters have stayed the same, but the details have changed. “The idea was to write a show about hippies, about the ‘peace/love movement,” says Rado. “The hippie movement was largely a white movement, but we wanted to have an integrated cast. So we decided to bring in black characters and address the civil rights aspects of the day.

Cheryl Barnes, singing "Easy to be Hard" from the film version of Hair. (and one of the author's favorite songs from the show itself.

For a candid discussion with Jim Rado, the author with local connections who created Hair, check out Stephen Dare's interview with him:

And to read a fairly iconic interview in The Advocate about his career and loves:

JAMES RADO (Co-Creator,Hair)

Born in Venice Beach, CA. Raised in Rochester, NY and Washington, D.C. Studied acting with Lee Strasberg. With Gerome Ragni created the book and lyrics of Hair. On Broadway originated the roles of Richard the Lionhearted (The Lion in Winter) & Claude (Hair). Did Agnes Varda's film Lions Lovewith Viva and Jerry Ragni. Has written two other shows: Rainbow and Sun. Over the last dozen years, he has been focusing on the HAIR script again, to sharpen it for modern-day sensibilities.

Just to have a look at how significant Hair was considered at the time, check out this rare collection of the reviews that came out in papers by reviewers across the country.  We acquired these images from Jim Rado's personal collection after Stephen Dare's interview with him last week. They are remarkable bits of theatre history, if only because they show the typewritten excerpts, often with editorial markups, corrections and notes in the hand of the author.

Thanks Jim!