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Hair
a Musical
CATEGORY : MUSICAL
by Gerome Ragni & James Rado (words), Galt MacDermot (music)

COMPANY : Serenbe Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : The Inn Meadow at Serenbe [WEBSITE]
ID# 5534

SHOWING : July 03, 2019 - August 18, 2019

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

For our Tenth Anniversary Season, we will revive the Tony-winning rock musical in a brand new, larger than life production. During Season Four, "Hair" was a game-changing show for Serenbe Playhouse, and there is no better time to revive it than in 2019 with the 50th Anniversary of Woodstock!


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Brian Clowdus
Mother Mary Jessica DeMaria
Jeanie Shannon McCarren
Harold Brandon Smith
Ronny Stephanie Zandra
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Haze Days
by playgoer
Saturday, July 6, 2019
3.0
Lots of stage fog. A fabric sling for acrobatics. An American flag touching the ground. All are elements seen in Serenbe’s recent "Ragtime," and they are also elements in Serenbe’s "Hair." You might call this a signature style. You might also call it a lack of variety in production values.

"Hair" doesn’t have the strongest plot in musical theatre, and Serenbe’s production does nothing to clarify it. The show is done largely as a rock concert, with microphone stands brought out center stage for most solo numbers. A drag queen (Mimi Imfurst/Braden Chapman) comes out for one scene, but otherwise only Jessica DeMaria seems to be past the first bloom of youth. Having her play a mother figure alongside younger people also portraying authority figures comes across as odd. She’s very good, as always, but seems out of place in this cast.

Josafath Reynoso’s scenic design emphasizes the rock concert aspect of this production. A raised stage contains scaffolding around the sides and back, with the second level of the scaffolding used occasionally. The band is visible in the back, with a portion brought forward for one of the numbers. Kevin Fraizer’s lighting design makes ample use of strips of LED lights on the back scaffolding that give a rock concert feel and that notably change colors in synchronization with the lyrics in a couple of the songs. A ramp leading down to the ground from the front of the stage is used frequently to bring the cast into the audience, but is used most effectively in Bubba Carr’s choreography for "Three-Five-Zero-Zero."

The choreography and Brian Clowdus’ direction keep the show active, and Bobby Johnston’s sound design that makes use of speakers scattered around the stage and the audience also adds to the sense of activity. With solo lines bouncing among cast members, it can sometimes be difficult to spot who’s singing what, and the combination of sound effects and singing can also contribute to less than ideal understandability. The pervasive use of echo effects during the songs, like the overuse of stage fog, seems to be part and parcel of a show that wants to rely more on creating an atmosphere than on telling a story.

Before the show, actors mingle with the audience. Many audience members sport hippie-inspired outfits, so it isn’t always easy to tell the players from the attendees before the show starts. Erik Teague’s costumes fit right in with the home-grown outfits. Chris Moneymaker’s props tend heavily toward fake joints. It all seems to be a tribute to an era that the production personnel didn’t experience first-hand. The pre-show and intermission sound clips from the Woodstock festival make it clear that Mr. Clowdus and crew are trying to recreate that sort of experience.

Music director Ed Thrower has done a fine job with the band. With singers, it’s more of a mixed bag. Shannon McCarren (as Jeanie) and Terrence J. Smith (as Hud) luckily have little solo singing to perform, because they’re pretty pitch-averse. Adante Carter (as Berger) has everything going for him in terms of looks, singing, and stage presence, and Casey Shuler (as Sheila) has a terrific voice, although she tends to vocally embellish her solos a little more than I would prefer. Some ensemble members make quite favorable impressions -- Leo Thomasian (as Woof), Stephanie Ronny (as Ronny), Brooke Bradley (as Crissy), and Jeremy Gee. Unfortunately, the central character of Claude is played by Zane Phillips, who has buff good looks and a fine voice, but doesn’t really capture the audience the way his character needs to. It doesn’t help that he, like many of the male cast members, is encumbered with a wig that looks pretty artificial.

Serenbe’s "Hair" isn’t musical theatre; it’s rock concert flash and smoke (without the mirrors). As always, Serenbe has created an environment that reflects the totality of the concept, in this case with a graffiti-covered picket fence around the stage and alongside the ramp, and with a graffiti-covered bus as the concession stand. It all has the feel of a Disney-esque Woodstock amusement park ride -- "It’s a Small World" for the adult crowd. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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