It has been questioned in recent times whether the spirit of peace and protest has really left our democratic American society. CSUN’s campus has more recently become alive with peaceful political participation. This is displayed with CSUN’s theater department’s presentation of the musical “Hair.”
When the term “musical” is brought up, the idea of spectacle and flashy costumes may come to mind. However, according to the show’s assistant director Danny Farrell, “Hair” is a “rare musical, if you can call it that.”
“(This is) theater that is so unstructured and open for creativity that it beckons for creativity,” said Farrell. He explained that “Hair” was not a caricature of the 1960s, but a movement toward peace, which was a large issue of that time period. Farrell said the musical examines all societal issues including dress, family, drugs, music and religion.
“The whole purpose of the hippie movement,” Farrell said, “is to embrace it even if you don’t get it.” He said “Hair” has something to understand and something to say.
“If both intentions are met, then this will be a rewarding experience,” said Farrell.
Stage manager Michelle Jacobovitz said the recent musical “Rent” (created by the late Jonathan Larson) has become a popular mainstream production. But what isn’t so widely known is “Rent” was inspired by “Hair.”
“‘Hair’ isn’t so outdated that it can’t relate to a modern audience. In fact, what the show presents as activities of the 1960s, college students still continue today,” said Jacobovitz.
Director Garry Lennon said the importance of “Hair” is its “ability to talk about issues of politics and religion in an open and honest way, in a way that we don’t do anymore.” Lennon said he didn’t want a nostalgic period piece, but instead ventured to tell a story about people’s lives regardless of time.
“It’s about 1968 and today,” said Lennon. “(It’s meant to) incite change. It is you, the audience, who is responsible to change the world ? it is a call to action, and not about flowers, sunshine and hippies.”
“Hair” will run May 5 through May 14. The May 10 performance will conclude with a post-show discussion. General admission tickets are $19, with discounts for seniors $15, CSUN employees $13 and students $10.
Kristen Egermeier can be reached at email@example.com.