Penn State Centre Stage To Perform Broadway Rock Musical ‘HAIR’
Penn State Centre Stage’s spring cast announced that its originally scheduled show Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson has been replaced by the iconic rock-musical HAIR, the first of its kind to hit the nation back in the 1960s.
Set in the midst of the sexual revolution, HAIR’s popularity skyrocketed due to its hippie driven counter-culture and passionate anthems referring to the anti-Vietnam War peace movement. The use of profanity, illegal drugs, and treatment of sexuality created tons of controversy around the musical, especially with its depiction of a racially integrated and outspoken cast. However, even with its roots in a time that’s now 50 years in the past, a lot of the musical’s elements and themes aren’t far off from present day.
“HAIR is a piece of theatre that gives the audience a view into a different world. The world that the cast and crew created is loyal to 1968, but the similarities to 2016 are eerie,” said Aidan Wharton, who plays the main character Claude. “We confront racial tensions, a drawn out military presence, and sexual liberation, but that can be hard to swallow for most people.”
HAIR tells the story of the “tribe” – a band of politically active, long-haired hippies living a bohemian-like lifestyle in New York City. They fight against the controversial Vietnam War and all of the domestic strain that came along with it, like the infamous draft.
The “tribe” is made up of a group of diverse friends: the protagonist Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila, and a few others deeply rooted within the sexual revolution that feuded with the conservative ideas of society in the 1960s. The plot thickens when Claude is drafted and has to make a choice whether to resist the draft as his friends did, or capitulate to the pressures of his conservative parents, compromise his pacifistic style of living, and serve during the war.
“One of the ways the show invites people in is through Claude. Throughout the show you’ll see him grappling with his loyalty to his friends in the tribe, his parents, and his country,” Wharton said. “Claude allows the audience to orient themselves and then become fully immersed in the message and story we are telling.”
Penn State Centre Stage’s production of HAIR has its first preview Tuesday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. and holds its opening night Friday, April 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Penn State’s Downtown Theatre Center. Evening premier tickets cost $25 and 2 p.m. matinée showings are $18. Student ticket are $12 for both time slots. You can purchase tickets for HAIR here.