The Seacoast Repertory Theatre is pleased to present “Hair” on its second stage at the STAR Theatre at Kittery Community Center from July 18 through Aug. 4.
“Hair” was the first rock musical to hit Broadway. The year was 1967, the Vietnam War loomed large in America, and a counterculture was multiplying into what would blossom into The Summer of Love. “Hair” is a product of its time and place, written by hippies about their own lived experiences. The true-to-life musical would take it from New York City to the whole world, to a motion picture, and even to the Supreme Court.
“It’s no exaggeration to call ‘Hair’ the most subversive musical of all time,” says Brandon James, co-artistic director of Seacoast Rep and co-director of the piece. “It’s really the prototype for what we think of as the more edgy musicals that came after it – Tommy, Spring Awakening, even Hamilton.”
It’s 1967 and a hippie tribe of youngsters in the East Village of New York is yearning to change the world, questioning authority and the American flag in the shadow of the draft and the Vietnam War. Wild, colourful, sexually liberated and free, they are united in protest and song.
“Hair” represents a step forward for Seacoast Rep, which is also presenting two other professional musicals at the same time at its mainstage space in Portsmouth.
“Hair is really our chance to put the Star through its paces and see what it can do,” says Ben Hart, co-artistic director and performer in the show. “We’re really going to stretch that space to its limit.”
The cast of 12 contains the Seacast Rep’s resident company – Jason Faria, Alyssa Dumas, and Andrea Lyons – plus some new faces for the Seacoast. Among them, Eric Elson, a recent graduate.
“I love pretty much every moment of the show,” says Elson. “It’s all up to interpretation. When it started It was more like a time specific performance piece. It was truthfully a group of hippies that got up onstage and bared their souls. Now that it’s older it’s something else. It really opens it up.”
Faria and Dumas are both choreographing and performing in the show.
“It’s less about moves than about using bodies to tell the stories,” says Faria. “It makes it feel natural, which is what this show is about. Our steps look different on everyone.”
“This music, for me, the way I’ve gone about it, is about the feeling and then moving through that feeling,” said Dumas. “It’s not strict. It’s not about that.”
The show contains nudity and is not recommended for those that might be offput by that or the show’s other content.
“We’re not pulling any punches,” says James. “This was a protest show. This is still a protest show. Why would we ever tone it down?”
“Hair” takes place at the STAR Theatre at the Kittery Community Center at 120 Rogers Road. Showtimes are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m. Ample parking is available on site. Handicap seating is available. The STAR Theatre box office can be reached at 207-439-3800.