Hair Invites the Audience to Join the Tribe at the Arsht Center

The national tour of Hair arrived full-force in Miami last night at the Ziff Opera House. People familiar with the show will recognize classic songs like "Aquarius," "Hair" and "Let the Sun Shine In" that had many fans dancing in their seats. This 1967 musical, deemed the first "tribal love-rock musical," tackles revolutionary themes of independence, war and love. But be warned, audience participation may be required.

It doesn't take long to realize that this show pays no mind to the

fourth wall that traditionally separates actors and audience. Within

minutes of entering the stage, leading man Berger, played by Steel

Burkhardt, is walking through the orchestra, poking fun at people

sitting alone and asking others to hug his half-naked body.

At other

times, cast members scale armrests to sing in the middle of the

orchestra and even pop up in the balcony. During the finale, everyone

is  invited up on stage to wave your hands and sing along.   

If all you know about Hair

is based upon the film adaptation, do not go in expecting to watch the

same story unfold. In the stage version, the plot is less discernible.

With over 40 songs listed in the playbill, each individual's

situation is communicated through their lyrics like "I'm Black"

performed by Darius Nichols as Hud, and Crissy's "Frank Mills," which is

effortlessly sung by Cailan Rose.

While the collective cast or

"Tribe," as they call it, is together on-stage most of the time,

individual performances still shine through. With her moving rendition

of "Easy to Be Hard," Caren Lyn Tackett's Sheila leaves you wanting to

hear her voice more.

Paris Remillard ends Act I with the powerful "Where

Do I Go," as his character Claude decides whether or not to burn his

draft card. Janie, played by Kacie Sheik, provides welcome comic relief

throughout the show as her love for Claude is impeded by her imminent


The multicolored lighting design compliments the score

perfectly, making you feel like you are part of Claude's marijuana trip

throughout much of Act II. The 10-piece band appears high on

scaffolding, visible for all to see throughout the production.

At times,

their sound overpowers the cast, making it hard to distinguish the

lyrics. However, Karole Armitage's choreography allows the story to

emerge through character interaction.  

The anti-war message

underlying the psychedelic show emmerges throughout from mock protests

to the chanting of "Peace! Flowers! Freedom! Happiness!" in "Let the Sun

Shine In." The show's final image is a powerful one that brings into

question the necessity of war. The show may be over 40 years old, but it

still resonates.

So go

ahead and let out your inner flower child. Just make sure to keep your

hands and arms inside the aisle at all times, because you never know when

a hippie might feel the urge to invade your personal space.

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Cassie Glenn