Playbill Viewing: Hair Came to Movie Theatres a Decade After Opening on Broadway | Playbill

Film & TV Features Playbill Viewing: Hair Came to Movie Theatres a Decade After Opening on Broadway Milos Forman's 1979 film adaptation of the quintessential '60s musical is its own vivid entity.

Yes, the movie cut "Frank Mills." Let's get that out of the way at the start. But Milos Forman's movie adaptation of Hair is its own wild, creative thing, where Claude (played by John Savage) lands in New York City from Oklahoma to report to the draft board, but first meets and is enthralled by the Tribe, led by Berger (Treat Williams).

The musical's creators Gerome Ragni and James Rado were unhappy with the end result, saying it made hippies seem like weirdos. But in 1979, what else could director Forman (just off the success of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) have done but to treat an era of free love and gentleness as if it existed on another planet?

Purists may carp that the musical lacks too much of the score (though many songs not included in the film are on the soundtrack), but the cast is top-notch—including Beverly D'Angelo as Sheila, Annie Golden as Jeannie, and Nell Carter belting "White Boys" in Central Park—and the vintage NYC locations are a balm in this time of self-isolation. Check it out for yourself on Amazon's Prime Video, where it's currently streaming. And then tomorrow, celebrate the musical's 52nd anniversary of opening on Broadway by listening to the original cast album to enjoy the best of both worlds.

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