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USA, 55 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: France
Program: Documentary FilmsLanguage: English
Producer: Pola Rapaport, Sylvie CazinEditor: Yen Le VanScreenwriter: Pola RapaportCinematographer: Wolfgang HeldPrincipal Cast: Ben Vereen, Keith Carradine, Melba Moore, Tim Curry
When two out-of-work actors first met at an audition in 1965, they had little idea that their eventual collaboration would end up becoming the cultural touchstone of a generation. James Rado and Gerome Ragni knew they wanted to subvert the traditional Broadway musical by capturing the heady excitement that was then building on the streets—but when HAIR opened at the Public Theater in New York on October 18, 1967, its reception took them and the world completely by surprise. Ever since, this wildly ecstatic stage experience has been performed around the world (and even hit the big screen in 1979, directed by the legendary Milos Forman).
In her latest documentary, HAIR: Let the Sun Shine In, Pola Rapaport (Family Secret and Blind Light, SDFF 23) charts the forty-year odyssey of the phenomenon known as HAIR (subtitled The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical). Interspersed with an abundance of musical numbers and rare archival footage from the Age of Aquarius (including a joyously anarchistic segment from The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour) are in-depth interviews with both the creators and former cast members. Taking an intimate peek at the rehearsals for a revival Rado is producing, we soon learn that things haven’t changed much since the show debuted. As Ben Vereen discusses HAIR’s impact on race relations, Melba Moore considers its treatment of women’s rights, and Keith Carradine draws parallels between the Vietnam and Iraq War eras, the fact that its themes are as relevant today as they were then becomes crystal clear. To quote Carradine: “HAIR was not just a show, it was a movement—the whole of which was greater than the sum of its parts.”
In cooperation with Colorado Ballet and E-3 Events
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