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Review Roundup: HAIR National Tour

The Public Theater's new Tony-winning production of HAIR is now on tour, will next play Boston's Colonial Theatre March 21- April 10. HAIR won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival as well as the Drama Desk, Drama League, and Outer Critics Circle award for Outstanding Revival of a Musical. The HAIR cast recording was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.

The cast features members from the recent Broadway production of HAIR including Steel Burkhardt as Berger, Matt DeAngelis as Woof, Kaitlin Kiyan as Crissy, Darius Nichols as Hud, Paris Remillard as Claude, Kacie Sheik as Jeanie, Nicholas Belton, Larkin Bogan, Allison Guinn, Josh Lamon, John Moauro, Kate Rockwell, Cailan Rose, Jen Sese, Lawrence Stallings and Lee Zarrett. Additional HAIR alumni include Phyre Hawkins as Dionne and Caren Lyn Tackett as Sheila.

Up next for the tour: Hershey, PA (Hershey Theater), April 11-17; Hartford, CT (Bushnell PAC), April 25-May 1; Schenectady, NY (Proctors), May 2-8; Durham, NC (Durham PAC), May 9-15; Atlanta, GA (Fox), May 16-22; Tampa, FL (TBPAC), May 23-29; Miami, FL (Arscht), May 30-June 5; Ft. Lauderdale, FL (Broward Center), June 6-19; Orlando, FL (Bob Carr PAC), June 20-26.

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: "As if often the case in touring casts (and this one is much better than average), the real strength is in the character work: Here a superb actor named Josh Lamon, who plays the authority figures, normally a thankless task, nearly walks off with the show. The lead performances don't embody all the emotional complexity of the 2009 Broadway cast, but Paris Remillard, who plays Claude, shows the most vulnerability and only gets better as the show goes on. Caren Lyn Tackett, who plays Sheila, has a remarkably rich voice, but her "Easy to be Hard" didn't plum the emotional depths of a song so simple in message, it is breathtakingly rich. I suspect she could."

Rohan Preston, Star Tribune: "For me, as for many theatergoers, everything pivots on the song "Let the Sun Shine In." The emotional power of this number captures the most moving elements of this musical by composer Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics writers Gerome Ragni and James Rado."

Sharon Eberson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "The touring company of "Hair" at Heinz Hall this week hit a few flat notes, and timing wasn't always in sync for its Tuesday opening, but the audience was mostly prepared to be in a party mood, many of them dressed for the invitation to come onstage at the end.The dozen musicians playing the hits occupy a multilevel backdrop while the tribe spreads and contracts on the dance-floor stage. They also take every opportunity to strut down the aisles and interact with the audience, plopping down in a lap or mussing a patron's hair."

Tad Simons, Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine: "Don't get me wrong: there's plenty of singing and dancing and fooling around in the touring version. The cast is a conspicuously diverse group of young people who are clearly having fun, and most of them are good singers, some of them even great. The entire first act is spent establishing the innocence of these kids: they live in the moment, don't really understand the consequences of their actions, their personal relationship are a mess, and all they really know is that it's fun to get high and do whatever they want. Jobs? Responsibilities? Organization? Housing? Showers? That stuff is for adults and losers who don't have trust funds."

Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "But beneath the torn jeans and aura of anarchy, "Hair" is a marvelous piece of stagecraft, as well-honed as the pecs and abs of its young and good-looking cast, who bring Karole Armitage's gorgeous choreography to life with feats of athleticism that a tripping hippie could never manage. Director Diane Paulus also has sharpened the story at the core of this musical's freewheeling, almost vaudevillian structure: Whether the Tribe's love can save Claude from all those other voices - including his own - insisting that if he truly loves his country, he should be willing to kill and die for it."

Tom Titus, Daily Pilot: "Director Diane Paulus has done a magnificent job of enforcing tribal cohesiveness and reproducing the anti-establishment mood of the 1960s. But it's Karole Armitage's stunning choreography, which often surrounds and involves the audience, that will be most fondly remembered.Michael L. Quintos, BWW: "From the start of the soulfully gorgeous "Aquarius," and through a rapid-fire succession of humorous, outlandish rock ditties that include odes to "Sodomy" and "Hashish," these beautiful creatures' main motivation is to entertain its audience, while dropping a bit of peace, love and knowledge in our laps. The show asks us to care about these young people, and quite easily over the course of the show, we do. Probably the most interactive, audience-participatory version of this musical I have ever seen, the theater setting morphs away, as if the audience is instead inside this "Be-In" with them."

Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times: "The emotional resonance of this production is no doubt intensified by the context of our own wartime situation. The U.S. may no longer have a draft, but many young men and women confronting a job market with little breathing room for newcomers have no choice but to enlist. The show encourages us to hang out with its characters, to laugh at their rambunctious energy and to sympathize with their vulnerabilities. Tensions in the tribe break out, but the real terror is the sledgehammer of adult reality that's waiting to descend."

Travis Michael Holder, Entertainment Today: "This Broadway revival gets it. Bigtime. Under the masterful direction of Diane Paulus and featuring wonderfully energetic choreography by Karole Armitage, this is again finally a Hair for the ages, one that honors what the show's creators, my old friends and former costars James Rado and the late Gerome Ragni, wanted to communicate. With enormous help from Michael MacDonald's brilliant costuming, Scott Pask's versatile set that makes the cavernous Pantages stage somehow intimate, and Kevin Adams perfect lighting plot, it's no wonder this mounting received a Tony last year for Best Musical."

Michael L. Quintos, BWW: "From the start of the soulfully gorgeous "Aquarius," and through a rapid-fire succession of humorous, outlandish rock ditties that include odes to "Sodomy" and "Hashish," these beautiful creatures' main motivation is to entertain its audience, while dropping a bit of peace, love and knowledge in our laps. The show asks us to care about these young people, and quite easily over the course of the show, we do. Probably the most interactive, audience-participatory version of this musical I have ever seen, the theater setting morphs away, as if the audience is instead inside this "Be-In" with them."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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