Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Hair's 50th Anniversary

So, my favorite musical is celebrating fifty years this month and it's about damn time I talked about it.

Hair is about hippies in the 1960s living in New York City and the whole peace and love movement. I think this was one of the first shows I saw on Broadway and I did NOT understand Act II when they go on a drug trip to Vietnam. I understand it all now, but it was very confusing at the time. I think I was like a freshman in high school and somehow it didn't click that Hair and Hairspray took place at the same point in American history. I never said I was smart.

It's kind of hard to explain the actual plot of the show because it's kind of loosely linked vignettes of a group of friends who all live together in the city. The show focuses on Claude, who just dropped out of high school. Despite his headstrong belief in rebelling against the war, in the finale of Act I he can't find it in himself to burn his draft card. Which takes the audience to an acid-fueled Vietnam in Act II.

One of the best parts of the show is that, while it ends on a sad note, they allow the audience to get up on the stage and sing Let the Sunshine In with the cast. As someone who will NEVER be talented enough to sing on a Broadway stage of my own, I will never forget getting up there and dancing and singing on that stage.

Somehow this fifty-year-old musical has stayed relevant for all these years, and I think that's more of a commentary on the state of our nation than the quality of the show. And that's not knocking the show. It's incredible, but it's also a show that will not lose its relevance any time soon.

A lot of the cast from the 2009 revival met up again to sing the songs in celebration of the anniversary, but I don't think videos from that have been released so I urge you to watch their Letterman and Tonys performances. Fun fact, the main blonde girl will be originating the role of Elsa in Frozen on Broadway.

If this show ever comes back to Broadway, you have to find your way there. Something about hearing these strong voices pleading with you to let the sunshine in makes you believe there's a way we can change the world. Use your voice for something good.