Metro Weekly

Hair Apparent

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

”I feel like it’s one of the greatest achievements of our career,” says Keegan Theatre’s Susan Rhea of the company’s current production of Hair. ”I feel more proud than I’ve ever felt of anything.”

Naturally, as co-director with her husband Mark Rhea, she feels a sense of motherly love and pride over Keegan’s incredibly stirring and youthful adaptation of the 46-year-old Broadway sensation. The provocative show, featuring music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, wasone of the last musicals to generate firsthand pop hits. And they’ve stood the test of time — from ”Aquarius” to ”Let the Sunshine In.”

Cast of ''Hair'' at Andrew Keegan Theatre

Cast of ”Hair” at Andrew Keegan Theatre

(Photo by Julian Vankim)

”I realize that not everyone likes every kind of music,” continues Rhea, Keegan’s associate artistic director, ”but every single person in the leadership of Keegan is absolutely in love with the score of Hair.”

No doubt most – if not absolutely all – of the audience will feel the same with the verve and talent this cast of 22 singing actors gives to the rock- and funk-oriented jams. That’s especially true given it all takes place in the intimate space of the company’s venue off 17th Street NW, known for decades as the Church Street Theater until Keegan bought it last summer. In fact, the Rheas instructed the show’s young actors to think of the Andrew Keegan Theatre as the communal ground for the show’s ragtag group of hippies — the place where they eat, sleep, hang out, have sex and live as a pot-loving anti-war ”tribe,” a loose-knit kind of family.

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.