STAGE SHOWS 1964-75
Book and Lyrics by
Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by Galt Macdermot
Produced for the Broadway Stage by Michael Butler
Originally produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival
Produced by Harry M. Miller
Directed By Jim Sharman
Production design by Brian Thomson
Music performed by:
Tully (June 1969 – ca. Jan 1970)
Michael Carlos - keyboards
Terry Wilson – vocals, guitar, flute
Robert Taylor - drums
John Blake / Graeme Conlan / Murray Wilkins / Ken Firth - bass
(unknown) - guitar (ex-Nutwood Rug Band) >
Keith Hounslow - trumpet
Other known members
of the house band 1970-71 include:
Reno Tahei – bass (ex-Compulsion)
Bob Gebert - trumpet
Keith Glass (Berger) / Marcia Hines / John Waters (Claude) / Reg Livermore (Berger) / Inez Amaya / Wayne Cull / Tomay Fields / Margaret Goldie / Karolynn Hill / Gillian Jones / Audrey Keys / Helen Livermore / Berys Marsh / Wayne Matthews / Terry O'Brien / Sharon Redd / Creena St. Claire / Teddy Williams / Terry Wilson
HAIR - History
Rado: "We intended HAIR for Broadway. We knew that's where it belonged and offered it to many of the established uptown producers. It was rejected again and again." Naturally they were delighted when producer Joseph Papp approached them and proposed that HAIR become the very first production at the under-construction New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theatre for a limited run of six weeks. Papp liked HAIR's premise, and suggested that Rado and Ragni develop a score. This led to the entrance of composer Galt MacDermot, who familiarized himself with the counterculture and music in order to compose the score for the show. HAIR opened at the Public Theater on October 17, 1967. However, that run soon came to an end, and although review were favourable, the show closed with no new venue to move to.
It was then that jet-setting impresario Michael Butler came to the rescue. The scion of a wealthy New England family with interests in paper, aviation, ranching, banking, utilities, electronics and real estate, Butler’s first entry into theatre came in the 50s when he convinced his father to back the original Broadway production of WEST SIDE STORY. He was also prominent in the Democratic Party in the 50s and 60s and was an intimate friend and informal adviser to John F. Kennedy. Butler saw HAIR at the Shakespeare Public Theater, loved it, and decided to become involved. Jointly he and Papp took a bold step and moved HAIR to the Cheetah discotheque on Broadway, located where the Roundabout Theater is today, on Broadway between 45th and 46th Streets. Because Cheetah was a working disco, HAIR had to start performances early in the night (7 pm curtain, with no intermission) to clear the floor in time for the dance patrons.
Eventually, due to financial troubles, HAIR had to close, but the team was determined to keep HAIR alive. Butler first tried working in concert with Papp: "Papp and I discussed a first class co-production. We made a deal and then Papp changed the terms. He did not believe in its future. So I went it alone." In the meantime, the authors revised HAIR's book and music, and went into rehearsal again with a new script, new songs and a new director. After negotiations between the authors and Butler, final changes were agreed upon, and Tom O'Horgan agreed to become the new director. Butler also insisted that Rado take over the role of Claude.
O'Horgan took three months to recast and rework the show. Rehearsals took place at the Ukranian Hall in the East Village, while Butler tried to find a venue. Finally, he struck a deal with the owner of the Biltmore Theater, located on 47th Street.
HAIR opened on Broadway at the Biltmore on April 29, 1968 and the rest is history. It closed on Broadway on July 1, 1972 after 1,742 performances.
The runaway success of the Broadway production spawned 29 other productions in 17 countries over the next few years, and HAIR became the most talked about theatrical event of the era. Wherever it was staged it broke box office records; its anti-establishment message, and the infamous nude scene, guaranteed that it became the target of conservative ire, ensuring a constant stream of intrigued patrons who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
HAIR was also important in launching the
careers of many new stars. Famous performers who made their names in the various
US and international casts include Keith Carradine, Nell Carter, Cliff
DeYoung, Marcia Hines, Reg Livermore, Keith Glass, John Waters, Diane Keaton,
Joe Mantegna, Chuck McKinney, Meat Loaf, Natalie Mosco (Tanya in Number 96),
Ted Neeley (JESUS CHRIST SUPSERSTAR), Ben Vereen, Jennifer Warnes, Alex
Harvey (Sensational Alex Harvey Band), Philip Michael Thomas (MIAMI VICE), Tim
Curry and Richard O'Brien (THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW), Elaine Paige and Donna
The Australian Production
The Australian production of HAIR premiered in Sydney on June 4 1969 at the Metro Theatre, Kings Cross. It was a resounding success, breaking local box office records, and generating enormous media interest because of its then-controversial content. It ran for two years in Sydney before shifting to Meblourne and then on a national tour. Several key members of the cast and production team of HAIR went on to the Australian productions of SUPERSTAR (1972) and THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW (1974), both of which were huge critical and box-office successes.
Harry M. Miller (Producer) was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1934. In the late 1950s he established himself as a show business promoter and entrepreneur. In 1963 he moved to Australia and established Pan Pacific Productions Pty Ltd. Throughout the 1960s he promoted a large number of concert and theatre tours of Australia and New Zealand including tours by Louis Armstrong, Artur Rubinstein, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys. He consolidated his reputation in the early 1970s by promoting the hugely successful musicals Hair and Superstar. Later in the 1970s he was appointed a Director of Qantas and organiser of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in Australia. In 1978 he established the firm Computicket which went into receivership within six months. In 1982 Miller was charged with five counts of fraudulent misappropriation in connection with Computicket. He was convicted and spent ten months in Long Bay and Cessnock jails (although many felt that Miller had been singled out because of a vendetta against him by members of the then Wran Labor government in NSW). After his release Miller revived his career and is now a leading manager and agent with clients as diverse as Jill Wran, ex-wife of former Premier Neville Wran, and Stuart Diver, the lone survivor of the Thredbo disaster. In association with the IMG group, Miller promoted a hugely successful concert version of SUPERSTAR in the early 90s, starring John Farnham, Kate Ceberano, Jon Stevens and John Waters. He is currently collaborating with IMG on a revival of HAIR scheduled to open in September 2000.
Jim Sharman (director) began his career in the early 60s in the Sydney theatre scene. After the huge success of HAIR, which he also directed in Tokyo, he directed the shortlived Patrick Flynn-Sandra MacKenzie-reg Livermore musical LASSETER (1971) at the Old Tote, followed by the Australian production of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, which opened in 1972 to enormous acclaim. Sharman also directed his first feature film that year, SHIRLEY THOMPSON VERSUS THE ALIENS. The success of the Sydney production led to Sharman being invited to direct the London production. It was here that he met cast members Richard O’Brien and Tim Curry, which led to the creation of THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. Around the same time he also met Australian-born singer Little Nell (Laura Campbell), whom he discovered busking outside the theatre where SUPERSTAR was playing, and he invited her to join ROCKY in the role of Columbia. After directing the successful London, Los Angeles and Sydney stage productions of ROCKY, Sharman directed the movie version, which has since become a cult classic.
Brian Thomson worked regularly with Sharman for many years including HAIR, LASSETER, SHIRLEY THOMPSON, SUPERSTAR, and the ROCKY stage shows and film.
Virtually the only black American female performer working in Australia at the time, Marcia was soon dubbed Australia’s “Queen of Soul”. She recorded many best-selling singles and albums -- including five Top Ten hits -- earned several gold and platinum albums, made two musical TV series for the ABC, was voted “Queen of Pop” for three years running 1976-78, and was Australia’s top-selling recording and concert artist for four consecutive years 1976-79.
In the mid-80s she stopped performing full-time
for several years due to ill-health but after being diagnosed with diabetes
and learning to manage her condition, she returned to regular performing and
recording in the mid-90s. She also teaches singing and hopes to open her own
performance school. Her daughter Deni has also become a successful singer,
scoring hits in the 90s both with The Rockmelons and as a solo performer.
John left SUPERSTAR to tour nationally with a one-man show he devised called LOOKING THROUGH A GLASS ONION. A John Lennon aficionado and Beatles fan from way back, John wrote the show to celebrate Lennon’s life and work and to evoke his honesty, bitter-sweet humour and disdain for pretentiousness. LOOKING THROUGH A GLASS ONION enjoyed sell-out seasons around Australia in 1992-93, culminating in a season in London's West End. Due to its popularity a second national tour played to critical acclaim and a sold-out season. Waters received considerable critical praise his writing for his performance as Lennon, winning the Melbourne Green Room Award for Best Actor In a Musical. More recently, John starred with Matt Day in THE SUGAR FACTORY and on stage as Captain Von Trapp in the Australian production of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. He has revived GLASS ONION for a return season in Sydney in early 2001 after a successful season in New Zealand in 2000 with Darryl Lovegrove in the lead role.
- FIRE (1995)
1969 Spin Records (Festival) SEL-933544
Where Do I Go?
Easy to Be Hard
General Grant's March
I Got Life
Walking in Space
What a Piece of Work Is Man
Farewell to Claude
Ain't Got No
Let the Sunshine In
GLASS ON HAIR
GLASS, star of the original 1969 Australian production,
How did you join the production, and what prompted you to go for it? Was it a difficult transition from being in a band (Cam-Pact) to doing a stage show?
I was attending RMIT and playing in band so it wasn't like I had nothing to do, but I auditioned on a whim and got a lead part. I thought it might last six months so I quit the band and deferred the course. Within three months I wanted to play in a band again but I had a 2-year contract! (and was making $$$$$)
You played Berger, and I know Reg Livermore also played that part - did he take over when you left?
Reg joined as
understudy to me as Berger, did his best to undermine me (hey that's showbiz) and took over some shows
as exhaustion/boredom set in, then the whole shebang when I left - but I did
the soundtrack, for which I still await a gold album!
When did you join and leave the show?
Original cast member,
some time 1969 [June] and quit the day my
contract was up, unfortunately before show went to Melbourne and elsewhere.
Did you have to get your kit off for the Nude Scene? How scary was that the first time?
Not much - we'd
rehearsed, we were stoned.
Did you have much to do with Harry M.? Any comments?
Harry never did wrong by me - gave me a pay rise after a month - he didn't need to. Did have his name 11 times on the sleeve of the album though.
What was Jim Sharman like to work with/for?
Jim is one sick puppy!
Tully was the house band, but were "augmented" for the show. Do you recall who else played with them?
The guitarist from Nutwood Rug Band (hippies from San Fran), Johnny Sangster on percussion, Keith Hounslow (trumpet) and some others - I even played bass a few nights!!
I've read that Tully were booted out later in the run because they kept digressing from the score - any comments on that? Do you remember when they were kicked off, and who replaced them?
Lasted about nine months then a band was assembled - Bobby Gebert, Reno (Tahei) from Compulsion. Tully were whacked every night but then we all were and I digressed from script all the time!
The show has good songs and a message - it was of its time and I think thrilled people, but I don't dwell on it, and I generally dislike musicals.
Our sincere thanks to