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"Out & About"


The Itemizer Observer Sept. 20, 2000

by Larry Roach

WEST SALEM-----The rock musical HAiR is bringing the mood of the 60's to Polk County and the Pentacle Theatre. The Beatles, the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the birth control pill and flying your long hair "freak flag" are part of the celebration of culture that is HAiR, opening Sept.22. Whitney Coffee as Willow

Pentacle's production of HAiR, directed by Randy Bowser ('Pirates of Penzance,' 'Mystery of Edwin Drood,' 'The Importance of Being Earnest') will be a step back in time to those chaotic days of a most significant social revolution. "It is a chance to relive my youth. Safely," says Bowser.

But HAiR is more than a nostalgic journey. "The show has a purpose," says Bowser. "HAiR was an early message urging us all to embrace diversity. If we could accept each other the way we are, our lives would be richer and more harmonious.

"HAiR is based loosely on Hamlet and the story of Jesus, both of which feature a conclusion where the central character is sacrificed so that we may learn," says Bowser.

HAiR was the first rock musical ever produced on Broadway and paved the way for subsequent productions such as "Godspell" and "Jesus Christ Superstar." Audiences will recognize many of the songs (Hair, Good Morning Starshine, Aquarius, Let the Sunshine In) as the HAiR album was the first Broadway cast album to cross over to the pop charts where it remained No. 1 for many weeks.

In 1968, the New York Times said, "HAiR is a celebration, not a story. Brilliant, new, sweet, ubtle, sheer fun." Newsweek said, "A vivid uproar that has more wit, feeling, and musicality than anything since West Side Story." The Los Angeles Times declared, "One of the most important developments in modern American Theatre." Bowser says, "We are trying to create the sense of a 'happening,' involving the audience in the celebration and joy." Reuben Sampson as Hud

The Pentacle's production benefits from collaboration between Bowser and the original co-author and star, Jim Rado, and the original producer, Michael Butler. Both, along with the other co-star, Walter Michael Harris, plan to be on hand for Pentacle's opening night.

The two central characters for Pentacle's production will be Jeff Sanders (Drood, Earnest) as Claude and Don Williamson (Pirates, The World Goes Round, Fantastiks) as Berger. Polk Count residents also will enjoy seeing Dawneka Patterson of Monmouth, and Jason Hoover of Falls City.

The show deals with some adult content and parents are encouraged to attend with their teens. However, the notorious scene with nudity, which was never in the original Public Theatre production, will also not be included in the Pentacle production.

(final paragraph was ticket and time information)

Strands of HAiR