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Here in the Park

July 24, 2008 pm31 10:54 pm
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Well, Hair in the park, Central Park, except I have trouble with vowels before “r” – I can hear (here!) the difference when someone else says them and I really concentrate, but I can’t reliably produce the distinction, and don’t recognize the difference in meaning associated with the different sounds. That is, the polar or grizzly things, and the aspirin, and the malty-hoppy beverage, and the adjective that means naked (bear, Bayer, beer, bare) all are functionally homonyms for me.

But Hair in the Park! (Speaking of bare!)

The Public Theater has a new production of Hair for this summer’s Shakespeare in the Park. Previews (were they previews?) started July 22. That was this Tuesday. And I was there.

A teacher invited me, to come along with him and his girlfriend (also a teacher). I wrote about them (Walk and Talk) last year. There was also a cousin, and two fo his girlfriend’s former students. Nice group.

Now, the whole world’s seen Hair? Not me. Never saw the play. The movie once. And all the big songs were familiar. So this is a first impression.

So I got to see it with a strong cast. Jonathan Groff was in Spring Awakenings, which I saw last year. It felt sort of natural that it was being performed outdoors in Central Park. Makes sense, right?

The art director came out before the “curtain,” said some thank yous, and then explained to the audience that those things that get burned are ‘draft cards’ – did you realize how long its been since we had a draft? He also made a couple of other sharp comments, clearly about Iraq, including about not seeing coffins…

Then they opened. The sun was still up. And I recognized The Age of Aquarius. And it was a great play. I must say, I was surprised by how few of the songs sounded “60s” to me – a lot I would just classify as show music. And the story gets alternately fuzzy and clear. But the symbols, the icons, the phrases, the scenes… All there, all made it great to watch.

I hadn’t known that the audience comes up at the end. Our group chickened out, and I was the biggest chicken (but we were sitting up high, as if that’s an excuse!)

They wouldn’t let me take photos, but someone did last year…. (very similar performance).

You know, it’s in New York, it’s in Central Park, it’s the summer, you should go…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 25, 2008 am31 6:55 am 6:55 am

    Sounds cool–I’d love to see it! (If only I had money, says the poor grad student…)

  2. July 25, 2008 am31 7:38 am 7:38 am

    Good news, musesusan:

    IN CENTRAL PARK
    Pick up your FREE tickets to Shakespeare in the Park on the day of the performance beginning at 1PM at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The closest entrances to the Delacorte are at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue. There is a limit of 2 tickets per person.

  3. July 25, 2008 pm31 6:52 pm 6:52 pm

    the lyrics were by a couple of hippie-freaks.
    but they hired a button-down pro to write the actual music.
    anyhow, that’s how i remember it from the album cover.
    boy it was a great record.

  4. Jack I. permalink
    July 27, 2008 am31 10:37 am 10:37 am

    I didn’t know you many talents included theater critic. Frank Rich has nothing to worry about, but I enjoyed your review. I thought the play was great! It was fuzzy like the 60s or was it the 70s (see what I mean). The group you went with sound nice, anyone I know? Oh yeah I was there. (A victim of the 70s…) Got to go, a call is coming in from the Leo hotline…

    Peace Jack

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