James Rado and Gerome Ragni’s 1967 rock musical centres on a group of hippies who champion peace, love and freedom against the backdrop of the Vietnam war draft during the 1960s. The story is set to Galt MacDermot’s score which features the famous songs Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine and Let The Sunshine In, as well as the title track.
After premiering off-Broadway in 1967, the musical transferred to the Great White Way and won the 1969 Tony Award for Best Musical. The show opened in London in 1968 with a cast including Elaine Paige, Richard O’Brien, Tim Curry and Paul Nicholas and ran until 1973.
The Public Theater’s current production opened on Broadway in March this year and won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. The original cast, who will make history in becoming the first entire original Broadway cast to transfer to the West End, includes Gavin Creel, who was previously seen in London as Bert in Mary Poppins.
British producer Cameron Mackintosh, who brings the show to the Gielgud theatre, commented: “Little did I think when I was the production runner on the original London production of Hair in 1968 that 41 years later I would be bringing the Public Theater’s acclaimed new production back to London complete with its extraordinary Broadway cast. Hair has always been far more than a musical. It’s a celebration of life, love and freedom. When it originally opened, my friends who were never interested in the theatre flocked to see it because it mirrored their own sentiments, as peace, love and anti-war feelings were being expressed all over the world. Its success was not just theatrical but social. So I was amazed all these years later to find myself swept away again by the joyous electric exuberance and commitment of the current Broadway cast. The rejection of the war in Vietnam has now morphed into the world’s concern at what is happening in Afghanistan. A period musical is once again as contemporary as today’s headlines and I’m very proud to help bring this production with its wonderful company into one of my theatres.”
Hair opens at the Gielgud theatre on 14 April after previews from 1 April. The theatre currently hosts another musical which originated on Broadway, Avenue Q. The fate of the popular puppet musical has not yet been announced.