Last week Hair opened at The Curran in San Francisco, and it was straight up eery how timely the musical is for today! First off, if you’re gonna watch a bunch of hippies get nekkid on stage like it’s 1967, you may as well watch in San Francisco. It just works. Haight. Tie-dye. Not illegal nakedness. Those aren’t just qualities of a quintessential Bay to Breakers group uniform. That’s Bay Area history.
What was almost piercingly poignant was one line about hippie protestors being tear gassed, because just one day before, the Oakland Police Department was receiving record-breaking amounts of print and social media flack for tear gassing Occupy Oakland protestors. The audience went awkwardly silent when the debatably brutal method was uttered, and in a private Q&A with the cast after the show, we learned how this run of the tour has been encountering instances of Occupy Wall Street protests from city to city. (In San Diego, the Occupy San Diego area was in front of the theater – They say you could hear the protests from inside during the show.)
At the end of each show, professional cameras record the stage as everyone in the audience is welcomed aboard to hippie dance with those who just performed for them. The eParty is a silly, fun end to the production, because – spoiler alert – I never realized how depressing the end of Hair is! I danced to “Good Morning Starshine” before, I even know the less-popular “Easy to be Hard,” and I grew up knowing all the words to the “Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In Medley,” but I never knew the actual moment for “Let the Sun Shine In” was so. freaking. sad. The cast was tearing up and so was I. I felt bleak inside despite all the rainbows on the backdrop.
Anyway, my favorite actor from the entire performance, Will Blum (for whom it was only his third performance! And he stole the show!), was talking about crazy things people had done at other post-Hair eParties, and apparently we all missed out on the bowl that was passed around (Fast forward to 1:00 in the 2 pm performance from October 26.) during the matinee that day. And I am not talking Buddhist prayer bowl. I’m honestly disappointed that nobody at the opening night eParty stripped, smuggled in a dog, or broke out any weed. WTH, San Francisco? I expected more cray-cray from you.