Published on November 12th, 2015 | by TLV News0
Get Transported to 1967 at The Ford Center with Dyed-in-the-Wool Vietnam-Era Musical “Hair” (by Brandon Skaggs)
Performances scheduled November 13th–15th
The second show of the 2015–2016 Ole Miss Theatre season is the Vietnam-era musical classic Hair. Written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni with music by Galt MacDermot, the show is set in a park in New York’s East Village in 1967.
Hair is the musical story of a group of hippies who celebrate peace and love in the shadow of the Vietnam War. The loose plotline centers on Berger, the charismatic leader of the “tribe,” and Claude, a sweet-natured guy from Queens who’s about to be drafted. But the real star of Hair is the rocking score, which includes such classic hits as “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Aquarius,” and “Good Morning Starshine.”
“We’ve been educating the [cast] a lot about the Vietnam War. It was the first war on TV; it was the first time the war was coming into our living rooms, and it was shocking,” said Jennifer Mizenko, professor of dance and choreographer for Hair.
Hair will travel into a surreal realm where everything must be questioned. The show is sprinkled with exaggerative sequences juxtaposed with trips through time, weaving together a vivid reimagining of the past and alternatives to the future.
“One of the things [the director] and I discussed in terms of the choreography was having it look daring with an essence of floating, and that these people are taking risks,” said Mizenko.
Considered a very intensive production, the actors had quite a bit of work to prepare for the show’s choreography, blocking, and characters. Beginning with conditioning and studying the music and emotions of the time, the actors’ regiment was rigorous.
“It’s physically demanding, but is also extremely vocally taxing. But doing a show like this one is so helpful when it comes to experience. If you can do a musical behemoth like Hair, many others feel like a piece of cake,” said Rachel Staton, a BFA musical theatre major in the production.
As for the comprehension of their characters and accurately representing the time period, the actors have been working one on one with the show’s director, and self-proclaimed hippie, Dr. Rhona Justice-Malloy, professor of theatre history.
“As a cast, we also speak at length about our relationships with each other, and each of us has been meeting with Dr. Malloy to discuss our characters. Having this kind of freedom is rare,” said Staton.
The show is recommended for mature audiences only due to the adult content and subject matter. The director and choreographer of the production decided to keep the content unedited for historical accuracy and to provoke thought in the audience.
“The show deals with a lot of controversial topics. We talk about sex, race, drug and alcohol abuse, anti-government, anti-religion, and a barrage of other topics that can be a lot to handle,” said Staton. “But I think Hair presents these topics in such a fun and accessible way that it’s hard to not enjoy yourself. I understand that we are in a region and on a campus that can be resistant to art that deals with subject matters like this—but that’s what the show was intended to do. Also, with the variety of characters, it’s hard to not relate to someone on stage.”
The performances are November 13–15 at 7:30 pm, with matinees Nov. 14 and 15 at 2 pm in the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. Donations will be accepted in the lobby for the Wounded Warrior charity supporting veterans and soldiers.
This season experience Ole Miss Theatre. Individual Tickets are $12.50 for adults, $9 for Ole Miss students, and $8 for Seniors/Children. For ticket information, please contact the UM Box Office, (662)915-7411 or visit: http://theatre.olemiss.edu.