For the next two months, only good “Hair” days are allowed at Miners Alley Playhouse.
On Aug. 5, the downtown Golden theater debuted its largest production ever, the American tribal love-rock musical “Hair.”
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On Aug. 5, the downtown Golden theater debuted its largest production ever, the American tribal love-rock musical “Hair.” The show runs every Thursday through Sunday until Oct. 2, and is rated R for adult content and brief nudity.
The musical follows the story of the “tribe,” a group of young adults embracing the counterculture, sexual revolution, and anti-Vietnam War movement of the late '60s . Claude, Berger, Sheila and their friends must navigate love, societal pressure and family expectations as they face life-changing decisions.
Miners Alley Playhouse has assembled a 12-member cast — its biggest ever — and about a dozen musicians, technicians and others working behind the scenes to bring the late '60s to life in 2022.
Director Len Matheo described how payroll expenditures and acquiring production rights also made “Hair” the playhouse’s most expensive production ever.
Matheo, who’s the playhouse’s executive director, said he and his team chose “Hair” because they felt it’d be a fun one to do now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted for theaters. Plus, the songs are “classic musical theater canon,” he described.
Matheo and choreographer Angie Simmons said there are 51 pieces of music in “Hair,” including the musical interludes, and most of them are choreographed.
While most theater-goers are used to seeing synchronized dance numbers or movements in unison, “Hair” sticks with the “free flow vibe” of the late '60s, Simmons said. Several pieces were choreographed to seem like they were improvised, she described.
With so much dance numbers and a large cast, the musicians play in the lobby rather than on or around the stage. Technology allows the musicians to see and hear the actors on stage, and the audience and cast to hear the band in the theater.
During an Aug. 2 dress rehearsal, Matheo said he was excited for audiences to see the new production.
“I just sit there with a big grin on my face (during rehearsal), because the actors are so good,” he continued. “ … ‘Hair’ is about peace, love, happiness, and taking care of the most vulnerable in society — here, it’s teenagers.”
Jasmyne Pierce, who’s playing Dionne in her first show at Miners Alley, explained how her first impression of the show was tenuous. She didn’t fully understand or appreciate how it related to current events. After reading through it more and engaging with the music and story, she came to love it and “moving and beautiful” it was.
Pierce also appreciated how the script calls for a diverse cast, saying, “We have people representing all walks of life.”
Overall, she felt that much of what the musical and the late '60s counterculture focuses on is still relevant today. Performing “Hair” allows the Miners Alley to bring those discussions “to light in a creative, safe space,” Pierce said.
She added: “(The theater) is a safe space for people to come together — to laugh, cry, be entertained and be moved.”
For more information on the show, visit minersalley.com/show/hair. After “Hair,” Miners Alley Playhouse’s next production will be “A Christmas Story” from Nov. 25-Dec. 23.
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