TheWrap goes inside rehearsals for a sneak preview of director Adam Shankman’s all-star production
The cast of “Hair” was unfazed by the boiling temperatures inside the Hollywood United Methodist Church when they previewed three numbers they’ll be performing live before audiences at the Hollywood Bowl, starting this Friday.
TheWrap was on hand as cast members Kristen Bell, Sarah Hyland, Hunter Parrish, Benjamin Walker and “Glee” stars Amber Riley and Jenna Ushkowitz sang the musical’s titular song “Hair,” pop hit “Good Morning, Starshine” and the racially charged “White Boys / Black Boys.” (See the video above.)
“Hair” follows a “tribe” of politically active young hippies in the 1960s as they embrace the sexual revolution and fight against the Vietnam War draft. The book and lyrics were written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and music is by Galt MacDermot. Adam Shankman, who produced “Hairspray,” “Step Up Revolution” and “Rock of Ages,” is directing the new production.
Despite the show being a half century old, Shankman believes “Hair” still resonates with modern audiences. “With everything that’s going on today; with Russia, with the NSA; the show still feels relevant. And the music continues to be magnificent.”
But don’t expect the special Bowl engagement to lead to a big screen reboot, Shankman doesn’t foresee it, even if this production is pulled off successfully. “It’s been made into a movie. I’m good,” he said.
The cast admitted that rehearsals have been more intense since it’s truncated, but they’ve all been having a ball and are confident audiences will, too.
“Everybody really brought their A game,” Kristen Bell told TheWrap. “I think everyone was equally nervous to digest a full two-hour production in ten days and then show it to eighteen thousand people, but it’s been a nice place to work, everyone’s playing around and having fun.”
“[‘Hair’] is about celebrating people, having fun. If we keep that the focus, all the other stuff kind of goes away.”” said Hunter Parrish, who plays one of the show’s leads, Claude.
“Hair” will run for three nightly performances beginning Friday, August 1, at 8 p.m. PT at the Hollywood Bowl.