At 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 1, St. Clair County Community College will debut its production of HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical.
SC4’s production honors the 50th anniversary of the classic countercultural musical, which made its Broadway debut in April 1968. Telling the story of the “tribe,” a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War, HAIR’s debut is widely considered a groundbreaking moment in American theatre.
“HAIR is such an important piece,” says Scott Dambacher, SC4 theatre instructor and director of the college’s production. “It was the first true rock musical, the first nonlinear storyline conceived out of experimental acting techniques, and the first to feature drug use and sexual freedom — what was happening on stage was happening in the streets and parks of New York City right outside the theatre.”
The play made waves for directly addressing the issues of its time, drawing striking attention to the country’s divisions amidst the Civil Rights Movement, the anti-war movement, and the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy.
“In many ways, the piece is still relevant and extremely important for us today, 50 years later,” says Dambacher.
As with all SC4 arts events, the college’s production of HAIR is a true community effort. Many of the play’s band members also belong to The Poltroons, who run the open mic night at Lynch’s Irish Tavern in downtown Port Huron. Lynch’s, along with The Raven Café, Main Street Garage and other local organizations, sponsor arts programming at the college throughout the year. On Halloween morning, the local community can get a taste of the talent that will be on display as cast members and musicians perform live on the WPHM Morning Show with Paul Miller at 8:40 a.m.
“I think our production is unique in that our cast is the same age range (18-21) as the characters being portrayed, so it’s unique to have such a young cast involved,” says Dambacher. “I think the audience can expect a great performance of an important piece of theatre and hopefully take something away from it.”
Tickets for SC4’s production of HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical are still available. The show runs Nov. 1 through 3 and Nov. 8 through 10 in the college’s Fine Arts Theatre, starting at 8 p.m. each night. Please note: This show contains adult situations and language. Parental guidance is recommended.