The producers of the upcoming Broadway revival of Hair didn't waste any time snatching up the highly desirable Al Hirschfeld. The theater's current tenant, the execrable A Tale of Two Cities, recently announced that it would be closing November 16th, making room for a far, far better production.
Diane Paulus's dynamic staging of the Public Theater's hit summer production will begin previews in February toward a March opening. Paulus will presumably take some time off from her new role as artistic director of Boston's own...er..Cambridge's own American Repertory Theater. (They're very touchy about that sort of thing, those Cantabrigians.)
As I said in my review of the Central Park run, this production forced me to reevaluate the place of Hair in the musical theater canon. Previously, I dismissed it as a novelty hit, a product of a specific time and place, but now I've come to see the show as having a more universal message. Of course, Central Park is really the ideal place for the show, for a variety of reasons, both thematic and conceptual. But that's obviously not a tenable long-term option, particularly in the coming winter months.
No word yet on casting, but it would be great to see Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson reprise their central roles as Claude and Berger, respectively. Both were simply sensational. There were many talented people in the cast, but Groff and Swenson were real standouts. (Did anyone out there see Groff's replacement, Christopher Hanke, as Claude?)
Some have questioned whether people will be willing to pay for something they could have seen free of charge over the summer. I find that attitude a bit parochial. Some of us don't live in New York City, folks, and the prospect of making a special trip just to wait in line for hours and then maybe not even get a ticket made seeing this show in the Park rather unattractive to many out-of-towners. The real question is whether the frenzy to see the show will hold over from many months before, especially now that the economy has since cooled quite considerably.
All I know is I greatly look forward to seeing Hair again, partly to see how they've made the out-to-indoor transition, but also to re-experience the sheer power of the show and the talent of the people involved.