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Long, Beautiful Hair

Few plays rocked the boat on Broadway more than Hair when the seminal rock musical left Joe Papp’s Public Theater in new York in 1968 — retooled and tightened up to showcase the music — for the Great White Way. Now it’s not so daring, even if it does espouse the hippie life and taking off your clothes. But it’s still a very good time, and that’s reason enough to catch its short run at the Buell Theatre.

“It was really an integral piece of the history of what we call American musical theater,” says Randy Weeks of Denver Center Attractions. “I wouldn’t say that it changed American musicals, but it opened up another arena for them, from which came A Chorus Line and all the other descendants of Hair.” Without Hair, he posits, we wouldn’t now be rocking out to electrified musicals like Rent or Spring Awakening or American Idiot.

A lot of the show’s earliest notoriety arose from its infamous nude scene (Weeks recalls that Hair was banned from coming to Denver back in 1971), but really, you go to hear the music, not for the skin or even for the burning of the draft cards. It helps if you like the Afros and the fringe and the beads and that “long, beautiful hair,” but what you remember are the songs: You go to hear “Hair,” “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In,” and you’ll walk out humming them all.

See Hair at the Buell, in the Denver Performing Arts Complex, starting tonight at 8 p.m. and continuing through October 16; for tickets, ranging from $25 to $105, go to or call 303-893-4100.
Tuesdays-Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 9, 2 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 16, 2 p.m. Starts: Oct. 4. Continues through Oct. 16, 2011


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