'Hair:' Letting The Sun Shine In On The Late '60s

By | November 29, 2016

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THE 23RD ANNUAL TONY AWARDS: BROADWAY '69 -- Pictured: (l-r) Best Musicial Nominee for 'Hair' actor Erroll Booker, producer Alexander H. Cohen, actress Martha Velez as Sheila -- (Photo by: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

The rock musical Hair, which was first performed in 1967 and opened on Broadway in 1968, almost serves as a time capsule for the culture of the late 60s. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical (to use its full title) was incredibly controversial due to its music, references to sex and drugs, and moral introspection regarding draft dodging. Because of these artistic choices, Hair seemed to divide the audience when they saw it, but their choice to add a scene with the cast completely nude on stage became a driving force for free publicity as well as outrage.

'Hair' Characters Were Inspired By Real People

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A still from the 'Hair' movie, 1979. Source: Pinterest

Gerome Ragni and James Rado, who wrote the book and lyrics for Hair, mentioned that this play was inspired by “some characters we met in the streets, people we knew and our own imaginations. We knew this group of kids in the East Village who were dropping out and dodging the draft, and there were also lots of articles in the press about how kids were being kicked out of school for growing their hair long.”