FRANKLIN, NJ—“Hair,” the American Tribal Love Rock Musical, is nearing its fiftieth anniversary, and in that time it has run the gauntlet from shocking and controversial, to mainstream and accepted, and into its current and well-deserved status as a classic period piece.

Credit must be given to the playwrights and composers for not updating or contemporizing it in the ongoing performances at Franklin’s Villagers Theatre, as so many other writers have done trying to “Keep their stage works relevant”.

Hair, with four of its featured compositions making it to the top ten on the pop charts, performed by such sixties icons as Three Dog Night and the Fifth Dimension will always be relevant.

The play’s contribution to the American stage has been immeasurable.

Being theater’s original rock musical, Hair paved the way for such noted plays as Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, Pippin and even A Chorus Line, and its influence is felt in later stage endeavors as far along as Rent.

With James Rado, one of the original composers in attendance, Director/Choreographer Michael Boyd’s energetic and successful opening night brought the house back to the tumultuous 1960’s with its love-ins, protests and the hovering Vietnam War.

Boyd did this with precise choreography and solid directing.

A nod has to go to stage manager Stephanie Youngman whose skill made sure the flow of nineteen cast members’ maintained continuity. Andy Gordanier’s set and Sandy Bonnell’s costumes coordinated perfectly and brought the 1960’s counterculture to life on Villager’s stage.

Featured players in this ensemble, included Faisal Sheikh as Claude, Ben Manahem as Berger, Evan Krug as Woof Phil Solomon as Hud, Kate Pentek as Sheila.

Jesse Principale as Jeannie and Kyle Blocker as Crissy lead the strong and enjoyable ensemble cast that kept this look back into one of America’s most influential decades enjoyable and interesting.

This production is highly recommended, but if you are planning on bringing children, please be mindful of the full nudity.

Hair continues at Villagers till November 23.  More information is available at the theatre’s website:

Reporter at New Brunswick Today