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"Hair" to Be NBC's Next Live Musical

by VVN Music

NBC has named Hair as their next live musical production.

The new production follows in the footsteps of the network's live productions of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz, Hairspray and Jesus Christ Superstar.  A date has not been announced but the network normally puts their production is the early-December time frame although Superstar aired on Easter Sunday.

NBC president Robert Greenblatt said "I’m overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores. These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I’m looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters."

The show will need some serious changing to be able to air on network TV.  Along with some serious use of expletives and a song filled with terms for sexual acts, the original production also included the infamous scene where all the cast members were nude on stage.

Rado and Ragni started writing Hair in 1964 and, in late 1967, debuted in an off-Broadway production at the Public Theatre. After closing, the show went through a major rewrite, including thirteen new songs, but the majority of Broadway theater owners refused the production because they found it too controversial. The Biltmore Theatre finally agreed to put on the show.

Hair opened on April 29, 1968 with Rado, Ragni, Jill O'Hara, Lynn Kellogg, Sally Eaton, Melba Moore, Ronnie Dyson, Paul Jabara and Diane Keaton. It went on to run for four years and 1,750 performances.

The show also spawned a number of hit record, most of which charted in 1969:
  • Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In - Fifth Dimension (1969 / #1 Pop / #1 Adult Contemporary / #6 R&B / #11 U.K.)
  • Easy to Be Hard - Three Dog Night (1969 / #4 Pop)
  • Good Morning Starshine - Oliver (1969 / #3 Pop / #3 AC / #6 U.K.)
  • Hair - Cowsills (1969 / #2 Pop / #19 AC)
  • Ain't Got No / I Got Life - Nina Simone (1968 / #94 Pop / #2 U.K.)
  • Where Do I Go? - Carla Thomas (1969 / #86 Pop / #38 R&B)
  • Where Do I Go? - The Bob Crewe Generation (1969 / #24 AC)