Kristen Bell, Hunter Parrish, and Benjamin Walker Talk HAIR at the Hollywood Bowl
This year's Hollywood Bowl production is the free love, drugs era musical, Hair, starring Broadway veterans Kristen Bell, Hunter Parrish, and Benjamin Walker. The stars sat down with the LA Times to talk about the show, which is being staged with less than two weeks of rehearsals. Click here to read the full article.
Frozen's Kristen Bell, who plays Sheila, said that it is indeed a lot to work through and process in such a short amount of time, but also, "The benefit of the show in my opinion is that 70 to 90% of it is music. And it's a little bit easier to memorize music than it is dialogue."
And former Godspell star Hunter Parrish, who plays Claude, pointed out that, "we'll just be beginning to understand it right when we finish."
Of course the question on everyone's minds about any production of Hair is: what about the nudity? A spokesman for the show said that while there will be some nudity, the three leads have yet to decide how much they will show. With the knowledge that their performances will not just stay on the stage, but will most certainly end up on YouTube in a matter of minutes and stay online forever, this has become more of a consideration. Parrish voiced the actors' thought processes best, "The decision isn't to be naked or not but whether you want someone to have a picture of it."
Hair co-writer James Rado has been involved in making lyrical updates for Hair through the years, and he will be involved in this one as well.
"I'm going to talk to them as a friendly observer," Rado told the LA Times. "They're probably under a lot of pressure, so I'll probably judiciously offer notes and through the director mainly,"
Staging the show is "So You Think You Can Dance" choreographer Adam Shankman. One concern he did mention was Kristen Bell's pregnancy, which she discovered after she had been cast. Her character is not pregnant however, he said that costumes should be able to conseal the fact that Bell is.
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson's Benjamin Walker, playing Berger, said that one thing he likes about the show is how it is an unrestrained ensemble effort. "The story is charmingly vague. It's all about the chemistry that the cast brings." And one advantage to a show of this era, Walker jokingly says, is that ad-libbing is easy, "We can shout, 'I'm on drugs!'"
The Hollywood Bowl's production of HAIR opened last night, starring Kristen Bell as Sheila, Hunter Parrish as Claude, Amber Riley as Dionne, Jenna Ushkowitz as Jeanie and Beverly D'Angelo as Mom, Sarah Hyland as Chrissy, Mario as Hud, Jonah Platt as Woof, Benjamin Walker as Berger, and Kevin Chamberlin as Dad.
From its stunning Broadway premiere in 1968, HAIR defined the "rock musical," exuberantly celebrating the hippie counterculture, anti-war movement and sexual revolution of the 1960s with a rainbow score of hits - including "Aquarius," "Good Morning Starshine," and "Easy to be Hard" - that have become ingrained in pop culture. Audiences will celebrate this groundbreaking American journey as we "Let the Sunshine In."
HAIR has book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot. Conceived by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, Hair was the opening production at the new Public Theatre in New York City's East Village in 1967. Hair opened on Broadway, at the Biltmore Theatre, on April 29, 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances, closing on July 1, 1972.
Hair has two more performances at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, Saturday at 8 PM, and Sunday, August 3, at 7:30.