Reviewed by Kevin Pollack
If you want to see a show that is so relevant to the times today, then look no further. There have been many productions of Hair over the years, and especially done in Chicago. I’ve only seen the show a couple times before, but I have to say that Mercury Theatre’s production is the best I’ve ever seen.
Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired hippies of the "Age of Aquarius" living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War. Claude (Liam Quealy), his good friend Berger (Matthew Keffer), their roommate Sheila (Michelle Lauto) and their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves, and the sexual revolution with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Ultimately, Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or to succumb to the pressures of his parents (and conservative America) to serve in Vietnam, compromising his pacifist principles and risking his life.
What I love about this production is that you are immersed into the story with the tribe throughout. You can feel their pain, their struggle, their friendships, their love and their devotion to one another as one being, a “tribe.” I also loved that they decided to add in the song “Dead End,” which normally isn’t in the production. Not to mention knockout performances by Matthew Keffer as Berger, Liam Quealy as Claude, Michelle Lauto as Sheila, Lucy Godinez as Jeanie, Evan Tyrone Martin as Hud, Cherise Thomas as Dionne, Aaron Davidson as Woof, Leryn Turlington as Chrissy and the rest of this incredible ensemble; Caleb Blaze, Chuckie Benson, Candace Edwards, Miciah Long, Andrew Lund, Mallory Maedke, Marco Tzunux and as the hilarious Margaret Meade; Craig Underwood.
Let me just stop a minute to tell you about these unbelievable voices! Every song was sung to perfection. One song wasn’t better than the other as the whole show, to me, was on the same level throughout. That just goes to show you what great casting and direction went into this show by way of the wonderful Brenda Didier. The music direction proves itself worthy courtesy of Eugene Dizon.
Other notable mentions include Chris Carter’s choreography, Robert Kuhn’s beautiful, colorful costumes, Jeffrey D. Kmiec’s set and special props to Pete Guither’s video projections. As most of you know there is the infamous nude scene in this show. But it was so tastefully done right with cool body projections.
Overall, I highly recommend you get your tickets now to this fun, uplifting show, especially during these rough times in this world. It’s something we all need. Peace, Love and Understanding. In other words, as they say in the show, “Let the Sunshine In.”
Hair is extended by popular demand thru September 24th.
The performance schedule for HAIR is Wednesdays at 8pm, Thursdays at 8pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm and Sundays at 3pm. HAIR runs approximately 2 hours, 10 minutes. We recommend this production for theatergoers over the age of 12. The production contains scenes that briefly depict profanity, nudity and simulated drug use.
Individual tickets range from $30-$65, and are available online atwww.MercuryTheaterChicago.com, over the phone at 773.325.1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago.