“Hair” Premieres at The Pantages Theater

Theater — By on January 10, 2011 at 10:39 pm



The Cast of Hair-Its Message of Anti-War and Love, Still Hold True Today. Photo by Joan Marcus.

The Star-Studded Affair Was Attended By Several Notable Celebrities, Including Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander.
By Buddy Sampson 
Hair, a production that originally opened on Broadway in 1968, is now presented at the Pantages Theater until January 23, 2011. The Pantages premiere, which took place on January 6th, 2011, kicked off 2011 with a bang and was a star-studded affair. Jason Alexander, of the hit series Seinfeld was one of the many celebrities and luminaries that attended the Hair opening. “The interesting thing about ‘Hair’ is that it was created as a real counter culture piece,” said Alexander. “You don’t believe what you hear, investigate the system, investigate the man, peace is good, war is bad under almost all circumstances and question convention. A lot of that exploration has never ceased being done. When it does cease being done, we tend to get in some very bad places.We just go along with what we are being told.And usually we wind up buying a small tub of crap. So the whole notion of look further, question more, seek something that is humane, those things are enduring qualities. This show is interesting, because it was done in a very rather unsophisticated way in its day, and yet, there is a kind of brilliance to it. The score is brilliant, and a lot of the lyric work is brilliant. The fact that it is not really a plotted story, it’s very shapeless, means that every generation is able to look at it again and go ‘well here’s what I want to do with it,’ and it never really hurts it. There’s not a lot of pieces that have that kind of fluidity.” Alexander is the Artistic Director of a theater company, The Reprise Theater. For information on the theater, visit www.reprise.org.  


Jason Alexander on the Red Carpet at the Premiere of “Hair.” Photo by Crystal Stranger.

“Hair came out in the 70’s when there was a cultural explosion,” said actor and comedian, Tommy Davidson, who has a movie coming soon with Cedric the Entertainer called “Chicago Jones.” “It took place after the Civil Rights movement and the loss of MLK and Robert and John Kennedy, so it was a very,very, tough time. But it gave rise to this period in America, where Blacks, Whites and people of all colors started living together and sharing each other’s cultural values.” “Hair is an iconic musical,” said music legend Melissa Manchester, a lady considered to be quite an icon herself. “The context of it had to do with the Vietnam war, and it had to do with personal freedom and choices. The score is titanic. ‘Let The Sunshine In’ will never be out of date.” Manchester, who is working on a new album, has a song in Tyler Perry’s movie, “For Colored Girls.” Visit her website at www.melissa-manchester.com. “Hair is naturally a glove to make us aware of what’s happening,” said singer/performer Ben Vereen.”Then (in the sixties) we were active.Now we’re listening. Now is the time to listen and be active and make a change. We voted for change, and nobody’s changing. We’re blaming this man in Washington (President Barack Obama) because in fact he’s trying to make change, but nobody’s changing. Because change is scary. It’s time to do things differently.” Actress and singer Dawnn Lewis feels strongly about the epic theater production. “We’re still at war, in a place that a lot of people feel we should not be,” said Lewis, who does voices for “The Cleveland Show” and “Futurama.” “And there’s a lot of people that have very mixed feelings about whether or not to support it. And so the story and the premise of the show back then, when it was first done in the 60’s, is still valid today and music speaks louder than most things that we can communicate in our lives and in our culture.”  

Among the stars seen at the event was Joseph Julian Soria, an actor who has been seen in TV productions such as The Shield and CSI:Miami, who is currently in production in a film with Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips; Eden Sher of “The Middle,” Tracie Thoms of the TV show “Cold Case,” funny man Patrick Warburton, seen in such TV series as “Rules of Engagement,” and “The Tick,” Actress Kate Linder of “The Young And The Restless,” and several other stars and celebrities.     


Patrick Warburton (r) and Guest.Photo by Chelsea Lauren, Getty Images.

Hair, which was presented in the turbulent times of the late 60’s, has a vital message that is still valuable in our current times. It’s message of peace, love and anti-war is especially relevant, with the United States’ involvement in two wars. The production represents the explosion of social and cultural mores. The improvisational nature of the show had the actors interacting with the audience, which was unusual for a theater production.   


Lawrence Stallings (L), Steel Burkhardt and Matt DeAngelis star in "Hair." Photo by Joan Marcus.

In an earlier part of the production, the play focused on a Black person, a Polish person and a person of another race in which the ensemble shouted, “who cares,” putting an emphasis on the human condition rather than race, creed or color. It presents a message and does it with easy laughs, fun and presence. The production should be seen by everyone. You will leave the theater inspired, encouraged and galvanized. “Hair” will be running until January 23, 2011. For more details, visit www.BroadwayLA.org or call 1-800-982-2787. 

Jason Alexander(L) Interviews with The Scoop LA's Buddy Sampson. Photo by Crystal Stranger.


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