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Ursinus Joins 50th Anniversary Celebration of “Hair”

Performances are Nov. 2 through Nov. 5 in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center.

A story of the search for truth, peace and love, the groundbreaking Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical is as resonant with audiences today as it was in the tumultuous 1960s.

Now, during its celebrated 50th anniversary, it is coming to the Ursinus College stage.

The production, inspired by 1960s counterculture and the sexual revolution, is being presented in collaboration with Ursinus’s theater, dance and music programs. It is directed by Domenick Scudera, professor of theater, with musical direction by Holly Hubbs, professor of music, and choreography by Karen Clemente, professor of dance.

Performances are in the Kaleidoscope Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 5 at 2 p.m.

With more than 50 students involved on stage and behind the scenes, Hair is one of Ursinus’s largest-ever productions. It stars Christian Eagan as Claude, the charismatic leader of the tribe, a group of politically active youth living a bohemian lifestyle in New York City while fighting against the Vietnam War draft. 

“This exuberant musical, a celebration of counterculture and resistance, is as fresh today as it was in the turbulent 1960s,” Scudera says. 

Hair creators Gerome Ragni and James Rado once summer up the production as “a coming together for a common reason: a search for a way of life that makes sense to the young, that allows the growth of their new vision, however defined or undefined that may be; to find an alternative to the unacceptable standards, goals and morals of the older generation, the establishment.”

These are themes, Scudera says, that match those discussed in the college’s signature Common Intellectual Experience course for first-year students. CIE “prompts students to ask the same kinds of questions that the characters in the play are asking: What should matter to me? How should we live together? How can we understand the world? What will I do?” Scudera says.

The Ursinus production also stars Blaise Smith as Berger; Satchel Harp-Manseau as Woof; Leroy Brown as Hud; Clementine Harvey as Sheila; Isabella Ragomo (the latest recipient or Ursinus’s theater scholarship) as Jeanie; Mya Flood as Dionne; Sienna Coleman as Crissy; Millie Drury as Ronny; Claire Hughes as Margaret Mead; and many other Ursinus students as members of the tribe.

Hair is the first of three plays being staged at Ursinus this academic year with a theme of Resistance. Each performance focuses on distinct acts of resistance that have challenged, provoked, or empowered people from different time periods and cultures. The other two plays slated to open next year are Lysistrata, a modern adaption of Aristophanes’ ancient comedy by Ellen McLaughlin, in February 2018 and Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris in March 2018.

Tickets are $8 for the general public and $5 for seniors and students.  Tickets can be purchased online at ursinus.edu/tickets and they will be available for cash only at the box office before the show.  For inquiries, please contact boxoffice@ursinus.edu or (610) 409-3030.