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Tony Award-winning Broadway hit 'Hair' coming to Keith-Albee

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- If you run into 26-year-old California native Brian Scott on the street you might be surprised by a twentysomething jivetalking like its 1968.

"Yeah, I do use the word 'bummer' and I say I 'dig it,' a lot too, lot more than I used to," Scott said with a laugh.

Talking like one far out hippie cool cat, well, that's just one of the funny occupational hazards of playing a hippie just about every night of the week as the national tour of the epic 1960s rock musical, "Hair" winds its way across the U.S., Canada and Japan.

Come 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, you can stroll downtown for some of that free love and good vibes yourself as the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center hosts the 2009 Tony Award-Winning Broadway Revival of the "Hair."

Tickets to the Marshall Artists Series event are $58, $50 and $45. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Joan C. Edwards box office, calling 304-696-6656, or online at ticketmaster.com.

A Northern Colorado University graduate who spent two years touring as a ringmaster with the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, said it has been a wild career ride stepping from the circus world straight into touring with the energetic rock musical.

"Dude, it's a rock party," Scott said by phone. "We're singing all of this fantastic music, this music that is driven and that's fun to sing, and we're getting to dance around out there like a bunch of hippies and we don't just do it on stage, we run out in the audience and dance with them and get the audience members up on stage to sing, 'Let the Sunshine in.' It's a huge party and a huge rock show every night."

For those too young or who enjoyed the 60s too much to remember, "Hair" is packed with the power of all of those sing-a-long hit songs such as "Let the Sun Shine In," "Aquarius," "Hair" and "Good Morning Starshine."

Two of the show's most famous peace and love anthems -- "Let the Sun Shine In" and "Aquarius" -- became huge hits for the Fifth Dimension as well.

All of those songs come washed live with the tour's rock band (armed with double keyboards, two drummers, a guitarist, bassist and multi-horn player), and the tour actually features the vibrant and color-splashed sets and costumes of the Broadway revival of "Hair."

"This is a cool thing to let everybody know is that everybody will see the costumes, the set and even the blocking and choreography from the 2009 revival production that was put on," Scott said. "So what we are bringing to West Virginia and the rest of the country is the Broadway show for all the people who didn't get to see it in New York City you can come and see that caliber of performance. It really is a beautiful unit set tucked on staged and a lovely sunshine backdrop."

Called "the first Broadway musical in some time to have the authentic voice of today rather than the day before yesterday," by New York Times theatre critic Clive Barnes when it opened on April 29, 1968, "Hair" follows a group of hopeful, free-spirited young people who advocate a lifestyle of pacifism and free-love in a society riddled with brutality and intolerance during the Vietnam War.

As the tribe in "Hair" explores sexual identity, challenges racism, experiments with drugs and burns draft cards, the musical creates an irresistible message of hope that continues to resonate with audiences more than 40 years later.

Scott said researching for the role he began to see a clearer understanding beyond the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll as to the message of the movement and the push for civil and social rights. That's given him a new found respect for the hippie nation.

He thinks that the show's message of peace and love could never be more relevant.

"Aside from the music I think it's the message too that is timeless," Scott said. "The reality is that they are talking about a lot of the stuff that we still care about today. They were for love and social equality and opposed unpopular wars and felt passionate about peace -- all things that we need just as much today as they needed in the past. When people come to the show I think they recognize how that message is still so important today."

'Let The Sunshine In'

WHAT: Cabell Huntington Hospital Presents the Tony Award-Winning Broadway Revival of "Hair"

WHEN: At 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7

WHERE: Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center

HOW MUCH: $58, $50 and $45

GET TICKETS: Visit the Joan C. Edwards box office, call 304-696-6656, or online at ticketmaster.com.

SPONSORS: Cabell Huntington Hospital, Reynolds & Associates, Chase Bank, KEE 100, WTCR, Oldies 97.1, WSAZ, The Herald-Dispatch, Marshall University, MU College of Fine Arts and the Marshall Artists Series.

DID YOU KNOW? The national tour of "Hair" uses the Broadway set and costumes from the musical that won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival as well as the Drama Desk, Drama League and Outer Critics Circle award for Outstanding Revival of a musical.

MORE MAS: The last MAS show of the spring semester is "The Addams Family," at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 28. Tickets are $58, $50 and $45.