Hair Apparent

Keegan Theatre lets the sunshine in with a rousing, energized revival of the provocative 1968 musical

Cast of ''Hair'' at Andrew Keegan Theatre

Cast of ”Hair” at Andrew Keegan Theatre

(Photo by Julian Vankim)

And the sense of family that’s developed among the cast is why Rhea’s pride goes beyond the typical directorial delight in seeing a complicated show come to fruition.

”I just love and respect our cast so much,” says Ian Anthony Coleman, who plays the hyper-sexualized ”Colored Spade” Hud. ”Everyone’s so talented and so loving. It’s been a judgment-free space. It’s been very therapeutic and incredible to be around people that you can love and trust so quickly.”

Coleman, 23, is far from alone. Interviewed on Keegan’s stage immediately before an early dress rehearsal, several others in the cast heaped praise on the bond that they’ve formed working on this ensemble-based show, where nearly everyone is on the stage or in the immediate periphery for most of its nearly three-hour length. ”The cast has been absolutely fantastic. It’s definitely one of the friendliest, most open groups of people I’ve ever met,” says Ryan Patrick Welsh, who plays ”big ole homosexual” Steve and also serves as dance captain. ”We all kind of went out of our way to hang out a lot outside of the show, outside of rehearsals, so we could all kind of get familiar with each other and know each other so that we could bring those personal relationships on the stage.”

”As clich√© as it sounds, we’ve become this big community and this big family. We’re all so comfortable with each other,” says Paul Scanlan, who plays the lead, Claude, struggling to weigh his opposition to war and love for tribe with duty to his country. Since graduating from Catholic University, Scanlan has been seen on many of the leading stages around D.C., including Signature and Ford’s. But he gives Keegan credit for pushing him further. Hair is the second show in a row with the company in which he didn’t try out for the lead, starring as the emcee in last year’s Cabaret. ”They’ve put me in these parts that I never see myself doing, that I learn a lot from and I think I benefit from because it gets me out of what I’m used to doing.”

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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