Encore Michigan

‘Hair’ grows excitement at P45 in Traverse City

Review July 13, 2019 Tom Emmott

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.–Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. That title has always kind of grabbed me. There was something about “Tribal-Love Rock” that I was drawn to. And I still am.

With Book and Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and Music by Galt
MacDermot, HAIR had 2 short runs in 1967: One at Joseph Papp’s The
Public Theatre and then at the Cheetah Nightclub in NYC. It opened
on Broadway in April of 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. And it ran
in London for 1,997 performances. That was right around the time that my
own hair was getting longer. In 1970, Hair was celebrating its second year on Broadway and I saw the cast perform numbers in Central Park. Everything was cool, and solid, and right on and far out. There was a war going on. Love was there for the taking. Peace was the word of the day. There was a revolution. And HAIR talked and sung about all of it.

And now, 50 years later, HAIR has come to Traverse City, MI in the form
of a Parallel 45 Theatre production. And it is still a trip, just like it
was back then. And like other P45 productions this one has its own brand of uniqueness. That is due to Kit McKay’s amazing direction. Staging has always been one of McKay’s strong points.

Ms. McKay could direct actors on a postage stamp. What she
has done with the amount of space she has to work with is truly
incredible. And she is assisted by two amazing choreographers–Jennifer
Lott and Brent Whitney. This threesome has actors/dancers stopping on a
dime wherever they need to. It is all so precise. And the performers know
their marks. It was like watching gymnasts. And these brilliant
performers due it all on grass. The performers are in bare feet most of the time so they need their grass thick. And their dancing is superb. And they’re on a high with their performances. And the audience gets high by watching them.

Music Director Emma Weiss gets it down and gets it done with her smooth,
bluesy, rocking, and subtle approach. When they need to be musicians, made up of Jen Baker, Stuart McLemore, Justin Hart, Curtis Hotlgrafe, William Lang, and Caleb Pringle, they know how to bang it out, and how to make it mellow.

No show would be complete without the design staff and Jacy Barber’s
costumes, which are right on. And I loved the cast members’ make-up. A very special mention to Scenic Designer Christopher Dills, Lighting Designer Brian Elston, Sound Designer Ines Thiebaut, and Prop Designer Elise Curtis-Dull.

HAIR certainly has it’s “lead” actor roles. But to me, in this
particular production, everyone is a “lead”–Dani Burke, Max Detogne,
Hannah Eisendrath, Joshua Isaiah Foster, Rudy Foster, Madison Hertel, Sarah Elizabeth Keyes, Luke Klein, Maya Lagerstam, Daniel Lendzian, Aguel Lual, Katharine Mangold, Katherine Dillingham Mazer, Serrenity S’rae Saffold-Rice, Mikhail Yarovoy. The acting interns are Theodore Huff and Oliver Boomer.

Parallel 45 Theatres new performing space is state of the art. Located
within Traverse City’s Civic Center, and complete with porta potties, with
2 more on the way. This new space is the perfect outdoor venue. It’s a new heartbeat in the community.

HAIR is suggested for mature audiences. It contains drug use,
partial nudity, sexually explicit language, and recorded sounds of gunfire
and violence. For ticket information visit parallel45.org or call
800-836-0717.

Week of 5/23/2022

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