- The First Rock Musical: A Look Back
- The First Rock Musical: A Look Ahead
- The First Rock Musical: A Closer Look
- The First Rock Musical: The Making Of
- The First Rock Musical: The Songs
- The First Rock Musical: The Performances
- The First Rock Musical: The Reception
- The First Rock Musical: The Legacy
- The First Rock Musical: The Impact
- The First Rock Musical: The Significance
A look back at the first rock musical, “Hair,” and how it changed the face of musical theater forever.
The First Rock Musical: A Look Back
On this day in history, the first rock musical opened on Broadway. “Hair” was a hit with audiences and went on to enjoy a successful run on both stage and screen. The story of a group of young people coming of age in the turbulent 1960s, “Hair” broke new ground with its frank depiction of drug use, sexuality, and anti-war sentiment. The show’s iconic songs, such as “Aquarius” and “Good Morning, Starshine,” are still beloved by fans today.
The First Rock Musical: A Look Ahead
Few musicals have had the impact or cultural significance of the first rock musical, Hair. The show debuted on Broadway in 1968 and was an instant hit, running for 1,750 performances and spawning numerous productions around the world. The show’s music, which includes such classics as “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In,” helped to define the sound of a generation.
Now, 50 years later, hair is back on Broadway in a much-anticipated revival. The new production features a cast of young actors and actresses who are bringing the show’s message of peace, love, and understanding to a new generation.
With its timely message and powerful music, Hair is sure to make a lasting impression on those who see it.
The First Rock Musical: A Closer Look
The first rock musical was a production called “Hair.” It debuted in October 1967 off-Broadway and then opened on Broadway in April of the following year. The show was groundbreaking in its use of rock music as part of the score, as well as its frank treatment of drug use, sexuality, and anti-war sentiment. The show’s success led to a number of subsequent rock musicals, including “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Tommy.”
The First Rock Musical: The Making Of
The Broadway musical Hair was the first show to be explicitly advertised as a “rock musical.” When it debuted in 1968, the show’s blend of topicality, anthemic tunes, and rebellious energy made it feel like part of the youthquake that was shaking up America. But Hair was also a product of its time, shaped by the Cold War politics, race relations, and sexual mores of the late-’60s. In this article, we take a look back at the making of Hair and explore how it changed the face of Broadway forever.
The original production of Hair was directed by Tom O’Horgan and choreographed by Twyla Tharp (both of whom would go on to helm other groundbreaking Broadway shows like Jesus Christ Superstar and Chicago). The cast featured many young actors who would later find fame in Hollywood, including John Savage, Treat Williams, Annie Golden,Future Tony winner Ben Vereen, and South Pacific Tony winner Loretta Devine.
The show’s book was written by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, two actor-songwriters who had been part of the off-Broadway avant-garde scene in the early ’60s. They began working on Hair in 1964, inspired by their own experiences as members of the anti-war and civil rights movements. The pair wrote most of the show’s songs themselves, with help from composer Galt MacDermot (who would later win a Grammy for his work on the soundtrack).
Hair debuted at New York’s Public Theater in October 1967 before transferring to Broadway’s Biltmore Theatre the following April. The show was an instant hit with audiences and critics alike; Time magazine called it “a happy occasion…a bouncy revue stuffed with charmingly simple songs…and performed with infectious glee by a talented cast.”
Despite its feel-good vibes, Hair wasn’t afraid to tackle some controversial subjects head-on. The plot follows a group of hippies living in New York City during the Vietnam War era; they deal with issues like racism, drug use, sexuality, andDraft Dodger violence. Some critics complained that the plot was too thin; others objected to its use of profanity and nudity (the infamous “Be In” scene near the end of Act One features full frontal male nudity). Nevertheless, audiences flocked to see Hair throughout its original Broadway run (which lasted for 1,729 performances), helping to make it one of the longest-running musicals of its time.
Hair also had a profound impact on popular culture beyond Broadway. The show’s soundtrack album became a top 10 hit on Billboard’s pop charts (an impressive feat for a cast recording), while its title song became an anthem for anti-war protesters across America. The show also helped to popularize hippie fashion and haircutting styles like “the mop top”; both trends would have a lasting impact on American fashion in general. Finally, Hair helped to pave the way for future rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar , Grease , AIDA , Rent , Spring Awakening , Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark , American Idiot , and Hadestown .
On June 27th 2019 – fifty years after its premiere – Hair will return to Broadway in an all-new production starring Tony winner Jonathan Groff as Claude Bukowski . With music by Galt MacDermot , lyrics by James Rado & Gerome Ragni , and direction by Diane Paulus , this new staging is sure to be one of this season’s must-see shows – so don��t miss your chance to see history being made!
The First Rock Musical: The Songs
The first rock musical was not only a breakout moment in music history, but also a turning point in American culture. Songs like “Hair” and “Aquarius” were anthems for a generation of young people who were coming of age in the turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s. The musical Hair was particularly influential, with its exploration of themes like freedom, love, and anti-war sentiment. The songs from Hair remain some of the most iconic and well-loved tunes from the era.
The First Rock Musical: The Performances
The first rock musical was “Hair,” which debuted on Broadway in 1968. The show was a sensation, running for 1,750 performances and spawning a hit movie and soundtrack album. “Hair” was not without its controversy, however; its frank depiction of drug use, sexuality and anti-war sentiments shocked many at the time. Nevertheless, the show’s groundbreaking fusion of rock ‘n’ roll and stagecraft was heralded as a new era in musical theater.
The First Rock Musical: The Reception
It’s been fifty years since the release of the first rock musical, “Hair.” The landmark show was a game-changer for both Broadway and music, bringing the sounds of rock and roll to the stage and cementing the musical as a viable form of popular entertainment.
While “Hair” was controversial in its day, it ultimately became one of the most successful musicals of all time, running for 1,750 performances and spawning several hit songs, including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” and “Good Morning Starshine.” The show also had a profound impact on social mores, helping to bring about changes in attitudes toward sexuality, drugs, and race relations.
In recent years, “Hair” has been revived on Broadway and London’s West End, proving that its message of peace, love, and understanding is as relevant today as it was when the show first debuted.
The First Rock Musical: The Legacy
It’s been more than 50 years since the first rock musical hit the stage, and the genre has had a profound impact on both music and theater ever since. “The First Rock Musical” tells the story of how a group of young people came together to create a new kind of musical theater, one that would change the world forever.
The first rock musical was “Hair,” which premiered on Broadway in 1968. The show was groundbreaking for its time, with its frank discussions of sex, drugs, and race, as well as its use of rock music to tell its story. “Hair” became a huge hit, running for 1,750 performances and spawning numerous productions around the world.
Since “Hair,” there have been many other successful rock musicals, including “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Rent,” and “Spring Awakening.” These shows have tackled controversial topics like religion, AIDS, and teenage sexuality with honesty and compassion. They have also introduced countless people to the power of rock music.
The legacy of the first rock musical is still being felt today. It paved the way for future generations of artists to create their own brand of musical theater, and its influence can be seen in both music and theater around the world.
The First Rock Musical: The Impact
It’s been 50 years since the first rock musical made its debut on Broadway. Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical; opened on April 29, 1968, and starred a young cast of then-unknown actors, including future Academy Award–winner Don Ameche. The show was groundbreaking in its depiction of the youth counterculture of the late 1960s, with its focus on sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Hair was not the first musical to feature rock and roll music, but it was the first to be billed as a “rock musical.” The show’s composer, Galt MacDermot, wrote the score specifically for a rock band, rather than an orchestra. This was a radical departure from traditional musical theatre scores, which were composed for pianos and orchestras.
The show’s success launched a new genre of musical theatre, and subsequent rock musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar (1970), Grease (1971), and A Clockwork Orange (1972) would go on to enjoy similar success.
The impact of Hair cannot be overstated. The show was a critical and commercial hit, running for 1,750 performances and winning the Tony Award for Best Musical. It also ushered in a new era of Broadway musicals that were louder, edgier, and more youthful in their sensibility.
The First Rock Musical: The Significance
It’s been said that rock and roll is here to stay. This may be true, but what about rock musicals? They’ve been around for almost as long as rock and roll itself, and they continue to evolve along with the music. The first rock musical was Hair, which opened on Broadway in 1967. It was followed by Jesus Christ Superstar in 1971 and Rocky Horror Show in 1973. These three shows helped to define a new genre of musical theater and change the way we think about musicals today.
Hair was revolutionary not only for its music but also for its subject matter. It dealt with controversial topics like drug use, Vietnam, race relations, and sexuality in a frank and open way. It was also one of the first musicals to feature an interracial cast. Jesus Christ Superstar took a more serious approach, telling the story of Jesus’ final days through the eyes of his disciple Judas. And Rocky Horror Show was a campy send-up of horror movies that challenged traditional ideas about gender and sexuality.
These three shows paved the way for subsequent rock musicals like Rent, Avenue Q, Spring Awakening, and American Idiot. They helped to broaden the scope of what a musical could be and showed that musical theater could be relevant to young people’s lives. As we look back on these groundbreaking shows, we can see how they have shaped the landscape of musical theater for generations to come.