As a break from the monotonous hum of my laptop’s internal fan, I attended NYU’s Wagner Alumni Association Annual Holiday Fundraiser. The WAA was screening “HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In”, a documentary about the making of the 40-year-old hippy musical, its cultural impact, and current revival. It was a treat to hear IT Awards presenter Ben Vereen and Honorary Award recipient Tom O’Horgan reminisce about the show.
I’ve heard it said that once you work on a show you either A) get sick of it and never want to hear another measure or B) fall in love with it and carry it with you always. Full disclosure: I stage managed a production of HAIR 8 years ago, and began singing along in my head all over again. The music and lyrics move me every time.
That said - the documentary is far from perfect. Milos Forman, Keith Carradine, Tim Curry, Melba Moore, and Michael Butler talk about their HAIR experiences. The interviews - both archival and new - are completely charming, but are presented without fact-checking. The “political analysis” and “current events parallels” are dubious and have all been said before. And Indie to my core I looked around the audience thinking, “Well, if you folks like radical theater so much, there is plenty of great new work that could use your patronage!”
“HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In” is worth a peek via Netflix one night. Keep making inspiring outsider art, kids, and maybe you, too, will be on French public television in 40 years. Stay warm and have a happy, healthy holiday season.