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Author: Sabine Kortals

CU Presents stages ‘Hair’ at the University Theatre, April 13-22

Theatre & Dance Department celebrates 50th anniversary of love-rock musical.

The love-rock musical “Hair”—a product of the counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s—is coming to Boulder, April 13-22. “Hair” tells the story of a group of politically active hippies fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

According to Bud Coleman, the University of Colorado Boulder’s faculty director of “Hair,” the musical “gives us the opportunity to look back at a pivotal moment in American history.”

Indeed, from Steven Spielberg’s recent film “The Post,” to Ken Burns’ epic 18-hour documentary “The Vietnam War,” the American public is still motivated in trying to understand this moment in our history: What happened? What does it mean? How did it change us?

“If we accept Hamlet’s observation that plays hold a mirror up to nature, then this mirror gives us a chance to look at an era where we are part of the image,” explains Coleman, Roe Green Professor of Theatre at CU Boulder’s Department of Theatre & Dance. “Hamlet doesn’t say that plays are a window, rather they are a mirror, which means the viewer is part of the experience.  

“Put another way, we’re all shaped by what happened, even if our parents’ names weren’t Cloud and Sage.”  

While “Hair” was groundbreaking for boldly introducing the genre of rock ‘n’ roll to Broadway, some of the songs from the score became Top 10 hits and much of the score is now part of the American Songbook.

“When Galt MacDermot, Gerome Ragni and James Rado wrote ‘Hair’ in the late-1960s, they were less concerned with the war itself than trying to capture the turmoil and optimism of being an American teenager at that time,” says Coleman of the work that opened on Broadway in 1968. “Think eastern religions, draft cards, sexual experimentation, recreational drug use, unplanned pregnancy, the British Invasion, the Women’s Movement, Civil Rights Movement and the like.”  

So grab your love beads, let your hair down and travel back in time with us to the “Age of Aquarius.” Advisory: This production includes nudity, strong language, simulated drug use, bare feet … and hippies having fun.