Hair | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Hair, Stage Two Theatre Company, at Estonian House. This most urban of shows might seem out of place in a Lincolnshire lodge hall nestled in a lush grove, but Stage Two's rendition of Gerome Ragni, James Rado, and Galt MacDermot's "American tribal love-rock musical" tries valiantly to transport its audience from 2002 suburbia to 1960s Greenwich Village. The exuberant actors are clearly grooving on the work's rebelliousness and unfettered sexuality; happily, director Stephen Genovese also understands the quasi-religious aspects of this sometimes celebratory, sometimes solemn hippie ritual whose central figure, the Christlike Claude, is a sacrificial lamb in the slaughter of Vietnam.

There are problems aplenty. Jeffrey Stringer as Claude and Jason Bowen as his cocky roommate mug like crazy. Inconsistent use of microphones makes some songs hard to understand, and Susan Pritzker's too-busy choreography distracts from the lyrics. The additional lyrics and dialogue Genovese obtained for the "midwest premiere" of this revised version of the work add nothing except running time to the poorly paced production.

But vocalist Vallea Woodbury's rocking solos in "Aquarius" and "White Boys," a strong band (guitarist Tim Walczynski provides some hot licks), and the high energy and commitment of the young ensemble remind us that Hair is both of its time and for all time.

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