Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical with a book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot is a product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s. Several of its songs became anthems of the anti-Vietnam War peace movement.
The musical’s profanity, its depiction of the use of illegal drugs, its treatment of sexuality, its irreverence for the American flag, and its nude scene caused much comment and controversy. The musical broke new ground in musical theatre by defining the genre of “rock musical”, using a racially integrated cast, and inviting the audience onstage for a “Be-In” finale.
Controversial – Yes! Statement of the times – Yes! If I were doing a time capsule this is one of the films I would include. A snapshot of changing times and a declaration of pride in being who you are and standing up for what you believe.
Hair, the 1979 musical war comedy-drama film is an adaptation of the 1968 Broadway musical Hair: An American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.The film focuses on the lives of two young men in the Vietnam era against the backdrop of the hippie culture, race and class issues of the 1960’s.
Set in the late 1960s, Claude Hooper Bukowski (John Savage) is a naive Oklahoman sent off to see the sites of New York before beginning his enlistment in the US Army. On his arrival, he hooks up with a group of hippies lead by George Berger (Treat Williams) which results in his questioning everything he was brought up to believe.
Claude has to decide whether to resist the draft as his new friends have done or to succumb to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifistic principles and risking his life.
The film was directed by Miloš Forman, who was nominated for a César Award for Best Foreign Film for his work. Cast members include Treat Williams, John Savage, Beverly D’Angelo, Nell Carter, and Charlotte Rae.
Dance scenes were choreographed by the legendary Twyla Tharp and performed by the Twyla Tharp Dance Foundation. The film was nominated for Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and New Star of the Year in a Motion Picture (for Williams).
These are the social times and political issues I grew up with and I wear my hippie status with pride. The revolution for love, peace, and equality has been hard fought but what we’ve come to realize is that the struggle will always continue.
I think we need to shake the world up again with this eternal message of peace and love. Yes, I’m a “liberal progressive” and I believe love is love, women’s rights are human rights and Black Lives Matter.
Just like in the 60’s these social and equality issues are still pressing. Every time there’s progress, there are those who want to take us back. We must acknowledge these forces and continue the fight for ALL of our rights.
PEACE AND LOVE