It's been two generations since HAIR first shocked the theater world with what became known as "the nude scene." The scene was a brief (blink and you missed it) look at dimly lit naked bodies of men and woman that took place near the end of the first act.
Compared to other themes in the show this scene, an expression of sexual freedom, seems minor. Drugs, race relations, homosexuality and the Vietnam War were the major themes--with tons of profanity thrown-in for good measure.
Yet it was "the nude scene" that had censors trying to close down the show and theater-goers warning others in hushed voices about the naked hippies.
Even though most critics of the 1960's panned the show (the major exception Clive Barnes of the New York Times), HAIR went on to play 1,742 performances--packing New York City's Biltmore Theatre for five years.
Since its' original production HAIR has never gone away. It has been staged around the world, with the recent 2009 revival receiving a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
Another revival of the 1960s rock musical HAIR is on the horizon--this time with a twist. The production by "The Actors Training Center Repertory Company" will perform a limited engagement starting on Friday, April 12, 2013 at the Wilmette Theatre. (1122 Central, Wilmette, 847 251 7424).
Since many theater-goers were not around in the 1960's, Wilmette Theatre has put together a series of free film screenings in order "to set the stage" for the newest revival. Here is the schedule:
Saturday, April 6 at 4 p.m.: “Berkeley in the Sixties”
In the 1960s, Berkeley, California became synonymous with a generation's quest for political, social and cultural transformation. Mark Kitchell's extraordinary chronicle of those years was named Best Documentary of 1990 by the National Society of Film Critics and was nominated for an Oscar in 1991.
Saturday, April 6 at 7 p.m.: “Woodstock”
The legendary three-day Woodstock music festival, held in Upstate New York in 1969, is chronicled in this landmark concert film. “Woodstock” illustrates the importance of the event as part of rock and roll history and captures the spirit of a nation in transition, when the Vietnam War was at its peak and antiwar protest was fully expressed through the liberating music of the time. The film won an Academy Award for Best Documentary in 1971.
Sunday, April 7 at 4 p.m.: “The Fog of War”
This profound film takes its name from the military phrase “fog of war,” which describes the difficulty involved with decision making in the midst of conflict. The documentary centers on former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara and analyzes the decisions he made that have impacted modern day warfare, specifically during the Vietnam War. “The Fog of War” is the winner of the 2003 Academy Award for Best Documentary and the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary.
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