I take great pleasure in being able to report that the critically acclaimed and Tony Award winning 60s tribal-love-rock musical ‘HAIR‘ is coming to the Gielgud Theatre in London, from April 2010, direct from Broadway!
I am so chuft, I have been saying for years that we really need HAIR to come back, and I am so thrilled that next summer is going to be the Summer of Love for musical theatre! 😀
HAIR originally played in London at the Shaftesbury theatre at the end of the 60s, and had some amazing people in it including Paul Nicholas, Richard O’Brien, Elaine Paige, Floella Benjamin and Tim Curry. In fact, its original West End run proved to be more popular than the original Broadway run, so this really is a bit of a coming home for HAIR in my opinion.
I really like that it’s Sir Cameron Mackintosh who is bringing HAIR back to London, as he worked as a production runner on the original 1968 London production, so it really is a full-circle kinda thing.
For the West End 2010 production, the ENTIRE Broadway cast are coming over to appear in it, with the Broadway production being completely recast. The show will open for previews on April 1st, with opening night scheduled for April 14th. The Broadway cast are initially scheduled to be here as the West End cast until October 2nd. This will mark the first time in recent memory that such a cast upheaval has happened, with recent productions of ‘Spamalot’ and ‘Wicked’ only flirting briefly with this idea as seen in their trans-Atlantic transfers of their respective lead actresses.
I’m also really pleased to see Equity UK and Actors Equity (US) for working together to allow this movement of talent (they’re citing economic and employment benefits, but hopefully this freedom of movement will continue once the recession is long behind us).
Equity UK has posted a few tweets on Twitter about the move:
“Hair will be part of an exchange agreement so British actors will be allowed to perform in New York.”
“Also, with Hair, the intention is to hire a more British cast once, or if, it takes off” (erm… if? IF?! ;))
“There is a shortage of jobs but Hair creates work for Brits in NY & there have been more Brits on Broadway than Americans in the West End”
I am going to make a perhaps controversial statement here, and that is that I do prefer the film adaptation to the original stage musical version itself. Sorry! Do note that I have said that it’s the stage musical version itself and not any specific production – big difference! Please view my earlier blog post for my explanation of why this is (it’s mainly storyboarding): CLICK HERE.
That said, I have been following the production in the US with avid attention and I am thrilled that it’s coming over. When I say that I prefer the film adaptation, that in no way deters from my enjoyment of the musical itself – I think of them as two separate entities really, one is live theatre, the other is essentially a movie. Watching it in the theatre will be a completely uplifting and different experience I reckon, and I can’t wait to see if my preference gets overturned! I also hope that we’ll get lots of open air appearances in Royal Parks etc, as the cast were frequently out performing in Central Park last summer in the US (largely as that’s where their original revival was staged).
For those with Spotify, you can hear the remarkably good 2008 Broadway Cast soundtrack by clicking here.
So many of the songs from HAIR have transcended into music pop culture, that I am sure that this’ll be a massive hit with all suitable age groups over here once again. Whether you love the amazing opening number ‘Aquarius’, or it’s that you recognise ‘I Got Life’ from Nina Simone’s classic mash-up of the musical’s original song (or from those Muller ads *sigh* heh!); or it’s ‘Let The Sun Shine’ from Milk and Honey; HAIR is guaranteed to spark a hippy revival in the West End and provide something that’s completely unique to the mix of what’s currently gracing the London theatre scene!
I CAN’T WAIT!