1967 Redux

Last night I saw Hair.  No, you are not having a flashback.  September 23, 2007.  Hair.  Performed live in New York at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.  First time since the original Broadway run closed on July 1, 1972 after 1,742 performances.  It’s been 40 years.  A bit of triva…

In the original cast…Melba Moore, Shelley Plimpton, Paul Jabara and Diane Keaton!

My mother took my sister, Barbara, and I to see Hair during the original run.  We were in our early teens at the time and had front row seats.  The fact that there was full frontal nudity had been widely publicized.  No surprises (although it did scare my sister a little).  But seeing the show again as an adult was a transformational experience.

On a personal note, my mother was apparently far more hip than I gave her credit for.  I’m not sure I would have taken kids to see it.  Not because of the nudity.  Because at a point in time when adults were trying desperately to "protect" their kids from the evils of war and recreational sex, this theatrical event was a rallying cry. 

From a cultural perspective, you would expect it to be nostalgic, and it was.  It brought me right back to the 60s.  I could almost smell the pot in the school parking lot.  It’s also relevant…No more war!  And philosophical…Check out the lyrics to "Air" and consider how we allowed the environment to deteriorate this far.

Welcome! sulphur dioxide
Hello! carbon monoxide
The air, the air
Is everywhere
Breath deep, while you sleep
Breath deep

Bless you, alcohol bloodstream
Save me, nicotine lung steam
Incense, incense
Is in the air
Breath deep, while you sleep
Breath deep
Cataclysmic ectoplasm

Fallout atomic orgasm
Vapor and fume
At the stone of my tomb
Breathing like a sullen perfume
Eating at the stone of my tomb
Welcome! sulphur dioxide
Hello! carbon monoxide

The air, the air
Is everywhere
Breath deep, while you sleep
Breath deep

It was mind bending.  I hope the Public Theater brings it back to play to a whole new generation.  Maybe they can learn from our mistakes.

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