Looking back on it, it seems inevitable that Hair would be responsible for all kinds of audience transformations and revelations back when it was a new show. After all, it broke so many boundaries, both in terms of content and style, that hardly anyone could have emerged from it untouched. What’s more surprising is how many of these “life-changing event” types of stories have now accrued thanks to the new production directed by Diane Paulus that started out in Central Park in the summer of 2008 and wound up on Broadway a year later, picking up a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical in the process. Daniel Sher, the producer responsible for this fresh mounting, based on the Paulus version of the original James Rado-Gerome Ragni book, had one of those unforgettable nights when he first saw the show during its Central Park run. “It started in bright sunlight, and it was lit that way, to show everything in brilliant color. But gradually the sun set, it got darker, and the show also got darker, and then the moon and the stars came out. It became the kind of New York night that the memory of it stays with you forever,” Sher told me by phone from the High School of the Performing Arts in New York. As we spoke, Sher revealed more about his passion for this “Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” and in the process gave me three very good reasons to get out and see the show (below). Hair comes to the Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) on Tuesday, January 8, and Wednesday, January 9, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 899-2222 or visit granadasb.org for tickets and info.
1) It’s a Premiere: “Santa Barbara will be our first stop on this tour,” Sher said, “and that means we will all be there in the audience — the whole creative team. It can be a little nerve-wracking, but there’s nothing like a true opening night for excitement, and we are happy to be sharing that with Santa Barbara.”
2) This Is Big-Time Broadway Stuff: If you have only ever seen a low-budget production of the show, prepare to be dazzled. “It’s the set and all the production values of the Broadway show,” said Sher, “so watch out — this is the big leagues.”
3) It’s An Eye Opener: When I spoke to Sher, he had “just [come] out of a rehearsal.” He said he “can’t believe how powerful this cast is. My eyes were opened.”