Magazine article The New Yorker

Let the Sunshine In

Magazine article The New Yorker

Let the Sunshine In

Article excerpt

Let the Sunshine In

"Hair" turns fifty.

La MaMa celebrates the counterculture rock musical, which debuted in 1967, at the Public Theatre.

When "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" opened on Broadway, in 1968, it featured one of the best young casts ever to appear in an American musical. Diane Keaton, Melba Moore, and Ronnie Dyson were among the show's stellar performers. The then twenty-two-year-old Keaton, in addition to having a little solo in "Black Boys," was one of the few cast members who didn't shed her clothes in the end. She didn't see the point. Stories like this abound whenever the subject of "Hair" comes up. My own introduction to the musical was Milos Forman's 1979 movie version, with all those spectacular dances by Twyla Tharp, and that beautiful clown Annie Golden singing "Let the Sunshine In" into a cold winter sun.

What is it about this musical--which concerns a bunch of kids gathering in a park in New York's East Village to welcome in the Age of Aquarius as one of their tribe goes off to war--that draws us to it, still? I think it has something to do with the co-lyricists James Rado and Gerome Ragni's perfect melding of story and antiwar sentiment with Galt MacDermot's music, some of which might remind you of Sonic Youth's controlled disarray. …

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