As a symbol of social rebellion, hair length carries precious little weight these days. Vastly changed mores, one might presume, have reduced a late-'60s countercultural work like Hair into nothing more than a nostalgia trip for reformed hippies, the theatrical equivalent to ossified oldies radio. Such dismissals, however, confuse a symbol for the substance. The first popular musical expressly designed to openly celebrate generational defiance, Hair might have been titled as shorthand for one era's radically shifting ideals, but the work has endured for its timeless championing of liberation from virtually every mode of repression. Sure, heralding the "Age of Aquarius" might sound antiquated, but the unabashed extolling of mind and body, along with insistent demands of equality across all barriers, continues to be an empowering (and, in some parts of the world, inflammatory) message. Composer Galt MacDermot's heady pastiche of rock and soul styles, blended together with abstract verve, has lost none of its eclectic vibrancy. Likewise, the loose narrative of Gerome Ragni and James Rado remains an unapologetic ode to enlightened deviance. This latest production, directed by Diane Paulus and featuring the choreography of Karole Armitage, has been lauded with critical acclaim and notable honors, including a 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival. Styles adapt with the times, but Hair remains a testament to the resoundingly steady idealism of youth.
Tuesdays-Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., March 4, 8 p.m.; Sat., March 5, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., March 6, 1 & 6:30 p.m. Starts: March 1. Continues through March 6, 2011