EPAC’s ‘Hair’ was perfect summer entertainment

Reviewed by Rebecca Sheriff

Last weekend I took a break from reviewing local bands to see the Endicott Performing Arts Center’s performance of Hair, the rock musical. The performance was outside at the Stage at Little Italy, the perfect venue for this dynamic show. Hair is a controversial musical that debuted in 1968 with themes of the 196’s including the Vietnam War, drugs and the sexual revolution. The use of rock music for a musical was revolutionary at the time of its debut. This performance featured a seven-piece band, and the outdoor setting allowed for the audience interaction typical of the show — cast members moved out into the audience several times, even offering beads and lollipops to the crowd at intermission.

The large ensemble cast delivered a great performance. The whole cast (or tribe, in the parlance of the show) was on stage for most of the performance. The actors constantly reacted to what was going on through their own improvised comments, gestures and even dance moves. The cast kept up with the fast pace and seamless transitions between scenes and musical numbers. The choreography was well suited for the show from small dance move, to larger numbers, and the cast interaction and movements evoked a real tribe feeling.

The enthusiasm and passion from a mostly young cast that was not alive in the ’60s was astonishing, although the music itself inspires passion with such classics as “Aquarius” and “Let the Sun Shine.” There were a few times where it was difficult to make out the sung words if you were off center of the speakers’ sweet spot, but overall the entire performing was a moving experience

If you missed Hair, you will have another chance this summer to see an outdoor performance by EPAC. Shakespeare’s The Tempest runs through Sunday (Aug. 7) at the Stage at Little Italy at George W. Johnson Park on Oak Hill Avenue, Endicott.

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