Long Beach Playhouse Studio Theatre closes its 2019 Season with the iconic musical tribute to the 1960s, Hair. The play was written 50 years ago by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt MacDermot. With an infectiously energetic rock beat, the show explores ideas of identity, community and global responsibility. It celebrates a generation who loved peace, hated war and believed they could save the world. It also reveals the inevitable tensions between youthful convictions and the complexities of life and human behavior.
“The 1960s remain an iconic era even today,’ said Madison Mooney, Executive Director for the Long Beach Playhouse. “Hair is a celebration of the era. And now, as we look at it with 50 years’ perspective, we also see the timelessness of the themes and messages.”
It’s always tempting to reduce an era to the trappings that define it; the long hair, the bellbottoms, the beads, and memorable refrains like “Make Love Not War.” Hair takes the trappings, wraps them around a story of two young men, the woman they love, hard choices and the realities of war.
“Hair is a show that seems easy on the surface,” said Sean Gray, Artistic Director for the Playhouse. “But it’s not all brightly colored clothing and memorable songs – there are difficult friendships, heartbreak, family conflict and the ultimate price of war.
“I selected Rovin Jay to direct this show because he’s excellent at finding compassion for all of a story’s characters. He is able to find the truth and the beauty in the difficult situations. He directed two plays downstairs, Seven Guitars and Flight. I felt Hair needed the same sensitivity to humanity that he brought to those shows. I’m very pleased with the chemistry between the cast, the director and the story.”
The 17-member cast is a nice mix of actors making their Playhouse debut and those who’ve previously acted in the theatre’s shows. Making their debuts are: Jacob Rachuy Stephenson, Jules Ronquillo, Gregory Bystriski, Shannon Wynne, Celia Ruskin, David Ponce, Mikey Israel and Corey Patterson. Returning actors are: Lorne, Latonya Kitchen, Justyn High, Carole Louise Duffis, Alyssa Garcia, Arystaysha Torres-Salas, Jeseka Luna, Will Ardelean, and Austin James.
The show opens October 12 and runs through November 16.