Sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll dominated Broadway this season as “Hair” returned for a limited-run Summer of Love — just in time to inadvertently commentate on our present wartime climate and celebrate the legalization of gay marriage in New York. The show, which advocates the power of love and believes even the most dire world conflicts can be ameliorated with a group hug and a good toke, blends humor and heartache to ensure its message hits home with audiences today just as it did back in 1967.
As characters break the fourth wall, run through the aisles and famously bare it all onstage, not even the most stoic theatergoers can sustain distance from the material. Whether you relate to the lovelorn, pregnant Jeannie (Kacie Sheik) or the spitfire protestor Sheila (Caren Lyn Tackett), you find yourself responding to the tribe’s lustful, confused, angry and ultimately hopeful path — even if you disagree with the one-sided liberal mindset or believe you’re simply there for the energetic pop-rock score. Like the characters, you come to realize that you cannot just remain passive and enjoy the world being created around you.
The choreography of the fun-fueled ensemble romps can be frenetic, and you’re not always sure where to look — but this buffers the more somber overarching plot. As the characters come into their own, the show seems less scattered and settles into maturity as well.