HAIR was created as an original idea by Gerome Ragni (Jerry) and, myself, James Rado (Jim).  We collaborated on the story, text, characters, dialogue and lyrics over the years 1965, 1966 and 1967.  From the start, I envisioned that the score of HAIR would be something new for Broadway, a kind of pop rock/showtune hybrid.  At first we had considerable difficulty, and we rejected several composers, until finally, in early 1967, we found  the music for our lyrics.  It was a case of love at first hearing.  The composer was Galt MacDermot.  It was more than a fulfillment of a dream.  I would call it a clear illustration of a marriage made in heaven.

HAIR has played pretty much continuously ever since its opening at Broadway's Biltmore Theatre on West 47th Street in 1968, and it was translated into many languages and produced around the world, from Japan and Australia to South & Central America, from Europe to Israel.   Once the initial popularity waned, it seemed for a spell that HAIR was not an especially viable commodity; there was a major slump of interest in it from around the mid 1970s into the early 80s, to my recollection.  But then, in the mid-80s, a new interest arose which took hold and grew.

Since then the show has received many major presentations in foreign countries, as well as amateur, stock, and university productions in the U.S.  It has been very popular again in Australia, Germany, Denmark, Holland, France, Italy, Japan, and, since the Wall came tumbling down, travelled for the first time to Poland, Lebanon, the Czech Republic, and  Sarajevo (featured on ABC's Nightline with Ted Koppel, when Phil Alden Robinson visited that battle-torn country and discovered a powerful production of  HAIR there in the midst of the war).  Curiously, HAIR has not been revived to any acclaim on a large scale in the U.S.A. where it was born.    Hopefully the new 2003-04 national tour will fill that void.

HAIR has played many places around this globe we call Earth and the Russians call Mir.  Where has HAIR never played?:  China, India, Vietnam, the Arctic and Antarctic continents as well as most African countries.  With the passing of apartheid, HAIR finally played South Africa in the mid-1990s, after being banned for all the previous years.  It opened to great excitement and was acclaimed.  I read the reviews and marveled.

 
 


Copyright 2004, James Rado - This page last updated: Tuesday, May 20, 2008


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