Review: Hair at Serenbe Playhouse
Hair. Weed. Sex. Tons of Love. Oh and a lot of belting.
These are five things you can expect when it comes to Serenbe Playhouse’s Hair. The rock musical has been known as one of the most beloved and rebellious shows to ever go to broadway since its opening in 1968. Though it was written in 1967, it’s just as current today as it was then and that may be the most frightening thing about this piece. The show picks up and just like today, America was on the brink of too many revolutions to count. War, Sex, Drugs, Racism, immigration, and our bodies were the biggest political issues, but it seemed like no one was being heard… sound familiar?
So in true musical theatre fashion, what did Gerome Ragni, Galt MacDermot, and James Rado do?
They wrote a musical about it and included the one thing people will always buy… nudity! They opened a show on Broadway about all the “bad things” we’re not supposed to talk about with an interracial cast, profanity, nudity, and here we are today!
Hair comes from an era of musical theatre; I like to call an “intentional art” era. By that I mean, every show was intentionally created to talk about a specific political issue. Largely, every show was about war. From Pippin to Cabaret and circling back to Stephen Schwartz’s Godspell. It was all commentary on an issue or a group of issues but unlike its other counterparts, Hair is missing a cohesive plot.
Which makes it next to impossible to direct clearly If you want to keep its “raw, balls to the wall” energy. So usually there’s a toss-up between telling a clear story and losing some of the spirit and just giving the audience a night they’ll always remember.
Hair is a night of theatre you’ll never forget.
But Brian picks his moments to be the detailer he is in his direction. Particularly in Claude’s “Spooky Mormon hell dream”, “Fruma Sarah”, “Under attack” eque dream scape. Musical theatre writers love using dreams as a form of exposition because….Broadway. It’s one part of the show where it’s easy for the direction be muddy and to lose the audience completely but with the help of good lighting cues and clear intentional storytelling from the cast, the story is told.
There’s truly not much to say about the show in its book. Besides letting us know that Claude is from Manchester, all the book really does is introduce confusing love…hexagons? That muddy the plot and confuse the already intoxicated audience members. Somehow the spirit of the piece still manages to shine. If you need a clear explanation of the show, I like to say “It’s Godspell on Drugs”.
What makes this ticket worth the money? The cast.
Always the cast! Leading the cast as Berger is Adante Carter and he was everything! Adante is giving you Prince level showmanship and keeps the show moving. Carter’s got this enigmatic and electric approach to Berger that you’ll never forget. I’ve said it before, I will say it again… Casey Shuler SLAYS. At all times. She’s giving you a FULL vocal performance. She’s serving Alto 2/Tenor 1 vocals and then giving you her best Defying Gravity mixed belt, and nobody is complaining about it!
Alexandria Joy shines like no other as Dionne. Alexandria sings this role (which is one of the highest and hardest parts in contemporary theatre) like it’s light work! But wait, there’s more! There is one person singing her throat loose and giving you pure life in Hair and her name is Stephanie Zandra. She is covered, bathed, wrapped, and soaked in the blood of Jesus because these vocals are anointed! Period. She sings for days and I am here for every part of it!
Hair at Serenbe Playhouse features Adante Carter, Zane Phillips, Casey Schuler, Leo Thomasian, Terrence Smith, Shannon McCarren, Alexandria Joy , Brooke Bradley, Stephanie Zandra, Cullen Gray, Erik Abrahamsen, Jeremy Gee, Karley Renee, Jessica DeMaria, Zuri Petteway, Megan Odell, Micah Patterson, Brandon Smith, and Barry Westmoreland. Click Here for tickets to Serenbe Playhouse here.
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