Chicago Theatre Review
“Hair” is the thing at the Paramount!
By Lazlo Collins
Here is the thing about “Hair”, like the hair styles that travel through the ages, some may look good back in the 70’s; however, some just don’t translate to the present. The musical “Hair” currently running at the Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL, is having some of those same “hair” style issues.
Let me preface this review by saying, for the most part, I really did enjoy “Hair”. The company had so much energy, the set was right on, the songs were executed well, and the costumes were perfect; having said that, the show for me just did not translate to its audience.
Perhaps “Hair” would have had a better chance at grabbing its audience if the house were smaller. It seemed that even with the high energy cast and sound system, the cast was working double time to get us to participate. Maybe it was just a Friday night thing? I wanted to feel more from the story and songs. In truth, it felt too loose and hippy dippy and not enough real story moments. (With the exception of the final scene of the show)
The two gentleman leads of Claude (Skyler Adams) and Berger (Adrian Aquilar) gave us moments of raw and anger to sustain our disbelief. Mr. Adams knocks it out with his acting and several of his songs. Mr. Aquilar, was impressive, and has an excellent voice; but I would have liked more dynamics to the often one-noted dimension of his character. I wanted to like him so much more.
Some Tribe standouts were Woof (Adam Michaels), Jeanie (Dana Tretta), Crissy (Maggie Portman), Dionne, (Donica Lynn), and Abraham Lincoln (Alexis J. Rogers). These tribe members stood out not only for their solo work, but brought me closer to the story with each scene.
Some notable tribe numbers throughout the show were “Hair”, “Where Do I Go”, “Walking in Space”, Three-Five-Zero-Zero”, and “Flesh Failures”. The entire collection of Claude’s military “trip” was enjoyable and great to watch. I felt the cast had put down their guard and just let themselves be in the moment.
With Doug Peck at the helm, the music execution was clear and soaring. Again, the set concept (Kevin Depinet) was superb, who wouldn’t want to make an entrance through a beaded curtain three floors up? The costumes (Melissa Torchia) were familiar and fresh. Lights (Jesse Klug/Greg Hofmann) and projections (Mike Tutaj) added greatly to the interest of the show.
I have seen many of Rachel Rockwell’s directorial endeavors in the past and have always loved what she has done. This production of “Hair” was no exception; however, this show did not make it across the footlights for me.
Perhaps it is just a matter of time travel or taste, but for now I will recommend “Hair” to those that want to romp with the tribe one last time. All others beware; the movement may have passed us by.
The 1960’s Love-Rock Musical “Hair” is at the Paramount Theatre in Aurora, IL through 1 April 2012. 630-896-6666 or www.ParamountAurora.com