“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” a cult-favorite story of a group of New York hippies struggling to balance their lives against the Vietnam War’s public toll and the upheaval within the sexual revolution of the ’60s, will run at the playhouse from June 1 to July 1.
The Gerome Ragni and James Rado story centers on group leader Claude, his roommates Berger and Sheila and his considerable angst as he decides whether to resist the draft or to succumb to the pressures of conservative America and serve in Vietnam.
“Hair,” whose signature tunes include “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine In,” premiered in 1967 off-Broadway, moving to Broadway the following year. It’s generally considered the last entry among the so-called Golden Age musicals, which had their inception in 1948 with “Oklahoma!” It caused a considerable media stir amid its vehement antiwar tone and its acclaimed nude scene, which lasted only 20 seconds under dim lighting and nonetheless prompted threats of censorship.
Participation in the scene was voluntary, and the interval also became the butt of pop-culture humor.
“I was gonna go see it,” the late Groucho Marx quipped, “and then I called up the theater. They said the tickets were $11 apiece. I told them I’d call them back, went into my bathroom, took off all my clothes and looked at myself in the full-length mirror. Then I called the theater and said, ‘Forget it.’”
In 1969, “Hair” was nominated for the best director and best musical Tony Awards. In 2008, the show won a Tony for best revival of a musical.
The OB Playhouse and Theatre Company is administered by executive director Bill Connard and his artistic director wife Jennie, who took over the space in 2016. The controversial “Avenue Q” is among its recent mounts; it will stage “The Rocky Horror Show” in October.
The venue is at 4944 Newport Ave. For more, see obtheatrecompany.com or call 619-795-9305.