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Not everyone’s a fan of ‘Hair’ at Aurora’s Paramount Theatre
Chicago Sun Times ^ | 3/26/12 | Denise Crosby

Posted on 03/26/2012 11:46:41 AM PDT by Borges

The last curtain had barely fallen before the feedback began pouring in.

Tim Rater, executive director of the Paramount Theatre, said that just hours after the opening show for the rock musical “Hair” concluded at the downtown Aurora theater, the emails began arriving.

And the phone calls, Facebook posts and verbal comments have continued ever since.

A few disgruntled patrons called the play — and the Paramount — “un-American,” “anti-Catholic,” “vulgar,” “smutty” and “grotesque,” Rater said. Some declared the show has no place in Aurora or at the Paramount. There were even a few who left at intermission and did not return.

Rater is, of course, referring to the fact that the hit musical — true to its Broadway roots — contains plenty of anti-establishment shots at parents, the American flag and even nuns — in addition to a certain amount of vulgar language and about 20 seconds of nudity.

The show’s producers had taken steps to warn audiences there would be, at one point, actors standing on stage in the buff. Big and little signs were posted throughout the theater. Automated emails went out, and brochures contained the information. And there have been plenty of stories in the media pointing to the fact the show may not be suitable for children.

“To the point of being a bit overkill,” Rater said.

Officials at the Paramount realized from the get-go that deciding to include the provocative “Hair” in their inaugural — and highly successful — Broadway series, might not be popular with some.

But Rater and crew wanted diversity. They wanted something fresh (this is the first production of “Hair” in the Chicago area, as the rights to the musical had just been released). And they wanted a season-ender audiences would not soon forget.

They got it. But for every negative comment, Rater said, they’ve received 12 that were positive. And he offers this email as “more indicative of the overwhelming feedback” coming in:

“I wasn’t prepared for the powerful and visceral reaction of being thrust back to 1968 ... . And, although I cried at the beginning and the end, I smiled all the way through the rest of the marvelous show.”

Rater calls the production so powerful “you get lost to it.” In fact, the 37-year-old theater man is so high on the show — which is also getting rave reviews from professional critics — he considered allowing his 8-year-old to see it.

The adult subject matter would go over her head, he said. And as far as the nudity is concerned, “it would take away some of the mystery.”

In the end, he said he decided against taking her because he didn’t want others in the audience to feel uncomfortable with a child around.


TOPICS: Music/Entertainment
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Hard to believe those people hadn't heard of 'Hair'.
1 posted on 03/26/2012 11:46:46 AM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

I remember playing the Soundtrack when I was a kid, I had no idea what the play was about though.


2 posted on 03/26/2012 11:50:02 AM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Borges

Agreed. I’ve never even seen the show or movie, and yet I knew all of these points that were brought up about the content.


3 posted on 03/26/2012 11:51:56 AM PDT by richmwill
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To: Borges

Hilarious.

I love the perpetually offended. Especially when they have ignorantly spent their own hard earned money to be offended.


4 posted on 03/26/2012 11:57:40 AM PDT by dmz
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To: Borges

I still have a fondness for a lot of the soundtrack, left overs from my brief stint as a second generation hippy. Given some of the stuff that’s hitting broadway these days it’s really not that anti-establishment.


5 posted on 03/26/2012 12:00:37 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: discostu

I much prefer The Fifth Dimension’s version of “Aquarius.”


6 posted on 03/26/2012 12:02:08 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: discostu

The teens who liked it in 1967 didn’t know that the music was written by a guy who was old enough to be their dad.


7 posted on 03/26/2012 12:02:57 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

“Hair” was a stupid, vulgar “musical” in 1968, and it hasn’t gotten any better over the decades. The only positive was the 5th Diminsion’s version of “Age of Aquarius” - the rest is silly, perile, idiocy.


8 posted on 03/26/2012 12:06:21 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: dfwgator

I’m more into the “deep tracks” (never got radio play) stuff like “Easy to be Hard” and “Where do I Go”.


9 posted on 03/26/2012 12:11:01 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: rusty schucklefurd
he only positive was the 5th Diminsion’s version of “Age of Aquarius”

And Three Dog Night's version of "Easy To Be Hard."

10 posted on 03/26/2012 12:11:32 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: Borges

As is so often the case with youth rebellion.


11 posted on 03/26/2012 12:12:18 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: Borges

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hair

All you ever need to know about actual hair, to heck with the hippie crap.


12 posted on 03/26/2012 12:14:17 PM PDT by GraceG
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To: discostu
I’m more into the “deep tracks” (never got radio play) stuff like “Easy to be Hard” and “Where do I Go”.

As long as you aren't into "Sodomy." ;)

13 posted on 03/26/2012 12:15:06 PM PDT by dfwgator (Don't wake up in a roadside ditch. Get rid of Romney.)
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To: richmwill

The 1980 movie was the best movie of the year. Treat Williams and Beverly D’Angelo.


14 posted on 03/26/2012 12:16:54 PM PDT by Neanderthal
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To: dfwgator

“. . . And Three Dog Night’s version of “Easy To Be Hard.”

I love Three Dog Night, but I don’t remember that song (at least by it’s title). I will check it out.


15 posted on 03/26/2012 12:27:54 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: dfwgator

“. . . And Three Dog Night’s version of “Easy To Be Hard.”

I love Three Dog Night, but I don’t remember that song (at least by it’s title). I will check it out.


16 posted on 03/26/2012 12:27:57 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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To: rusty schucklefurd

the rest is silly, perile, idiocy.

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Pretty much an apt description of all youthful rebellion when viewed from decades later with a side of grouchy curmudgeon.

Most everything we did as ‘yutes back in the day was silly, puerile idiocy. And one hell of a lot of fun as well. Glad it’s in the past.


17 posted on 03/26/2012 12:31:48 PM PDT by dmz
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To: dfwgator

I enjoyed the offensiveness in my youth.


18 posted on 03/26/2012 12:34:34 PM PDT by discostu (I did it 35 minutes ago)
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To: rusty schucklefurd

I saw “Hair” in NY in the late 60’s . I enjoyed it and thought it rather tame especially after seeing “O Calcutta” the same week. “O Calcutta” was performed in the nude. Dance numbers were interesting to say the least


19 posted on 03/26/2012 12:36:34 PM PDT by heylady (“Sometimes I wish I could be a Democrat and then I remember I have a soul.”( Deb))
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To: dmz

re: “Pretty much an apt description of all youthful rebellion when viewed from decades later with a side of grouchy curmudgeon.

Most everything we did as ‘yutes back in the day was silly, puerile idiocy. And one hell of a lot of fun as well. Glad it’s in the past.”

I would agree if we’re just talking about “crusin’ main street” in your car, stuffing as many kids in a phone booth as possible, bell bottom pants, nehru jackets, etc. But “Hair” was more than that. It was and still is a rejection of traditional moral values and a rejection of any and all authority or retraint.

I was a teenager when it came out and when I heard the entire musical for the first time, I was absolutely shocked at the content. I was sickened and embarrassed for my generation. As I said, there were some musical numbers that weren’t too bad, but overall it just seemed extremely pretentious and pointless. The hippy movement was not a positive for our nation. I don’t understand the nostalgia some people have for “Hair” or Woodstock.

Again, some good music, but the underlying messages of the 60’s are what has brought us to where we are now morally, socially, spiritually, economically, and politically.

“Hair” merely reminds me of how bad some of those messages were.


20 posted on 03/26/2012 12:49:23 PM PDT by rusty schucklefurd
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