Central Wyoming College Theater Department ‘s production of “Hair,” the rock musical set in the turbulent anti-war movement of the late 1960s, is bound to bring back a lot of memories for baby-boomer theater patrons while providing a history lesson for younger generations.
The twenty-something-aged theater students rehearsing for the April 12-14 and April 19-21 staging of the Tony-winning musical have come to recognize how much social and political change came about as a result of the tumultuous times, said Director Mike Myers.
“I don’t think they realized until now how much social change has occurred since the ‘60s,” Myers said, referring to the politically active generation that fought for civil rights, women’s liberation and environmental change. “It’s been a real history lesson for the students.”
Unfortunately, the original production of Hair is most remembered most for its use of profanity, nudity and the promotion of drug use. “I think the one thing the play is trying to promote is peace,” Myers said, assuring CWC audiences the content has been modified though he says it is not appropriate for children. “If you’re going to do a play about hippies in the ‘60s, you can’t leave out the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.”
The writers based all the characters in Hair on the people they knew at that the time. “I don’t think the purpose was to promote drugs or free love,” he said. “It’s just a picture of what life was like at the time.”
Hair has continued relevancy to the millennial generation, he believes. In the ‘60s, the country was split right down the middle. “Half the country was very conservative and supported the (Vietnam) war, and the other half didn’t.” Today, the nation continues to be divided on numerous issues ranging from health care to gay rights to immigration.
Hair’s greatest legacy may be its music with the show producing some classic hits like “Aquarius,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Let the Sun Shine In.” Hair has triple the music of most Broadway hits and very little dialog, Myer said, which has put demands on musical director Robert Hussa and choreographer Allison Lee. “It’s mostly just music and movement with a sprinkling of dialog.”
Tickets, $12 for adults and $10 for youth/seniors, are available April 1. The Box Office is open Monday through Fridays from 2-6 p.m. Call (307) 855-2002 or go to tickets.cwc.edu to make online purchases.