Tag Archives: Margaret Mead

Peace, love and HAIR

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have books in our lives know that family favorites are often handed down for generations.

As the child of a before her time hippie who stayed ever young at heart, I was raised on the likes of a book called “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs.”

I hadn’t given it much thought until opening the program for “HAIR” while attending the show at ASU Gammage Wednesday night.

I discovered cast bios proudly listing astrological signs like Gemini and Aries, Virgo and Leo. And yes — even Aquarius.

I suspect one cast member takes her astrology especially seriously. Caren Lyn Tackett (Sheila) notes that she was “Born Sun in Leo Moon in Aries Aquarius Rising” — which leads me to believe I wasn’t the only person to experience the wonders of astrological charting as a child.

I’ve been told that I’m Scorpio “sun, moon and rising” but I’m guessing it only felt that way to my oft-times exasperated, though ever-supportive, mother.

Also of note in cast member bios are final words consisting of “love,” “peace,” “namaste” and such.

It’s hard to know where the hippie ends and the actor begins — which is part of the charm and appeal of this show.

I was especially moved by one particular monologue, which encourages parents to run right home and have a talk with their teenagers.

And to say something like this — be yourself, embrace your freedom and love your life.

Of course, you could just take them to see the show. I think they’d get the message.

Be forewarned, however, that the musical “HAIR” is “mature audiences” fare.

I’m completely supportive of my high school age daughter seeing the show, but other parents might make a different choice knowing there is nudity (albeit brief and tasteful), swearing and simulated sexual/drug activity.

If you’re uneasy with exposing your child to the questioning of authority — whether God, country, the military or parents — you may not be comfortable having your child or teenager see the show.

But having said that, I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced a better multi-sensory snapshot of this particular period in American culture.

And since issues related to war, drugs and sexuality are still with us today — I don’t know that there’s a better way to expose youth to these issues.

It’s your call, of course, and you should know what you are getting into.

Certainly it would be a shame for anyone even remotely close to being “mature” to miss this show. It’s among the best Broadway productions I’ve ever seen.

Sorry, Phantom. The cape and mask have been replaced in my heart by fur and fringe. Believe me, my daughter Lizabeth has been waiting for this moment. That whole “music of the night” vibe just never spoke to her, I suppose.

I’ve never had more fun at the theater, and never heard those around me enjoying such profound conversations. One doesn’t always find this mix in a single show.

Everyone left dancing — that’s true. But I think they also left wondering about the modern-day American tribe, and whether we’re really living up to all that “peace” and “love” hype of the hippies who came before us — or who were us.

Especially strong performances were delivered by Phyre Hawkins (Dionne), Matt DeAngelis (Woof) and Paris Remillard (Claude). Josh Lamon makes a marvelous Margaret Mead.

Steel Burkhardt was clearly born to play Berger, and delivered one of the finest performances I’ve seen on the ASU Gammage stage.

Of course, some of his best performance art happens off stage — something it’s best to experience for yourself (rows one through five are especially lively).

Forget about that whole “fourth wall” thing when you see this show. 

Be ready to let your hair down, flash those peace signs and embrace whatever the goddess of musical theatre throws your way.

If you need a little something more concrete to go on, I offer this brief review…

Brilliant lighting. Incredible live band (on stage, no less). Strong acting. Moving vocals. Fever-pitch dancing. Oh yeah, and way cool costumes. (They give those Tony Awards for a reason.)

I suspect “HAIR” is unlike anything you’ve ever seen on stage before, and I don’t happen to think that anyone should miss this opportunity to see it.

Go. Dance. Hug. Sing. Love. Laugh. Shake your big hair. And be grateful for every last minute of this supremely unique and extravagant production.

— Lynn

Note: “HAIR” — described as “The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” — runs through Sun, Dec 12 at ASU Gammage. Click here to learn more about the show, read reviews by “Gammage Goers” and find ticket information. Also visit ASU Gammage on Facebook to learn about Thursday night’s talkback and apres-show dance party/costume contest. I’m holding out for the biggest hair contest — I think I might have that one covered.

Coming up: Stage Mom reviews new movies

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Giving back to and through Valley arts organizations

Depending on which holiday/s you celebrate, you may find family traditions such as gift-giving sneaking up on you all too quickly. A couple of things to remember as you search for ways to create special holiday experiences…

First, attending performances together with family and friends can yield the greatest gift of all: memories.

Second, every gift matters–and seemingly small actions taken by a multitude of people can have a huge impact.

“Never doubt,” reflected American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-1978), “that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

This quote has special meaning because, although I’m certain I’d heard it many times before, it struck me for the first time during a visit to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

In this spirit, I’m delighted to share an update to our original blog (posted 11-24-09) on ways to give back during the holiday season.

Please let us know if you’ve discovered another way–no matter how great or small–to give back to, or through, Valley arts organizations.

Arizona Jewish Theatre Company. Online auction to benefit their education department. Auction runs through December 11th—which means you can enjoy holiday shopping from home and help Valley kids enjoy great theater!

Art Awakenings. Purchase holidays cards featuring original artwork to “support empowerment and recovery” for youth and adults living with mental illness.

Childsplay. Buy a teddy bear (donated by Build-a-Bear) sporting a handcrafted sweater by Tempe fiber artist Sonja Faeroy Saar to benefit their Benjamin Fund, which provides free tickets to organizations working with underprivileged youth or youth with disabilities.

Free Arts of Arizona. Buy gift bows (made of authentic movie trailers) while supplies last at Harkins Theatres to benefit arts programs for abused, homeless and at-risk youth.

Greasepaint Youtheatre. Receive $2 off your ticket price to Oliver! for all remaining performances when you donate an item at the show for the St. Mary’s Food Bank holiday drive.

Theater Works. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Peoria Fire Fighters toy drive or a bag of non-perishable food items for the Valley View Community Food Bank when you attend their Dec. 16th Christmas Concert to receive one coupon redeemable for a $5 discount on a future performance.

Valley Youth Theatre. Help support Operation Noah by bringing a new stuffed animal to donate at any remaining performance of A Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas Tail. Donated animals go to children who are in the hospital.

Note: Please comment below if you know of other opportunities to give back to, or through, Valley arts organizations. Many thanks!