On April 18, 2018

Pentangle Arts’ “Hair” celebrates the play’s 50th anniversary

Courtesy Pentangle Arts

Michael Viruet portrays Berger, one of the lead roles in “Hair,” being performed by Pentangle Arts in the play’s 50th anniversary year.

April 19-22—WOODSTOCK— Pentangle Arts is excited to announce its live production of “Hair – The Tribal Rock Musical” in celebration of its 50th anniversary. The production, directed by Joey Murray, with music direction by Rob Baumgartner, opens with a preview April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre.

Tom O’Horgan, who directed the premiere in 1967, said at the time that he saw “Hair” as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create “a theatre form whose demeanor, language, clothing, dance, and even its name accurately reflects a social epoch in full explosion.” Similarly, Murray said in his director’s note, “The political and social parallels between now and the late 1960s is uncanny. Creating this production of ‘Hair’ seems not only poignant and timely; it feels necessary.”

But don’t expect this rendition to mirror the original, the revival or the movie. While staying true to the script and score, the set design, lighting and direction are completely Murray’s vision, which is grounded in the polarized world in which we live. The production does not sugar coat the difficult themes of sex, sexism, racism, war and violence, but does so with an undercurrent of love.

Pentangle’s Executive Director Alita Wilson described the organization’s decision to produce this show: “There are times when art should do more than entertain, it must hold a mirror up to difficult societal realities pervading our daily lives and discourse.” She continued to explain her quick decision to hire Murray to direct the show, and said, “It was his visionary direction, respect and commitment to a collaborative process demonstrated in his direction of our fall 2017 production of ‘Cabaret.’  Joey does not direct a show in isolation, nor does he arrive on the first day of rehearsal with a fully fleshed-out vision. His casting process is slow and deliberate. ‘Hair’ was cast with the assistance of music director Rob Baumgartner and choreographer Tesha Buss. Each actor was selected with care. I think audiences will be blown away by their collective and individual talent and the degree to which they have created a tightly knit and completely unique and powerful tribe.”

This presentation of “Hair” deals with mature themes and includes elements of nudity, sex, drugs and violence.

“Hair” opens with a preview April 19, with additional performances on April 20-21 and April 26-28 at 7:30 p.m., and April 22 and 29 at 4 p.m.

Woodstock Town Hall Theatre is located at 31 the Green in Woodstock. For tickets and more information, visit pentanglearts.org/hair.

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