Jan 21, 2017

Coffeehouse Chronicles #139: HAIR 50th Anniversary

Moderated by Chris Kapp

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Join us, as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical with co-creator James Rado, composer Galt MacDermot, featuring members of the original Off-Broadway cast of 1967, Broadway cast of 1968, and the cast of the 2009 Broadway revival, including Shaleah Adkisson, Max Chernin, Michael Walter Harris, Antwayn Hopper, Blaine Krauss, Rev. Marjorie Lipari, Natalie Mosco, Allan Nicholls, Heather Mac Rae, Dale Soules, Ellen Foley and Jared Weiss. The event, moderated by Coffeehouse Chronicles Co-Founder, Chris Kapp, will offer a panel, performances, and archival media by Dagmar Krajnc and the HAIR private collection.

HAIR was created as an original idea by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, who collaborated on the story, text, characters, dialogue, and lyrics, beginning in 1964. In 1966, they were joined by composer, Galt MacDermot. Although, envisioned from the start as a challenge to the Broadway model, HAIR debuted Off-Broadway on October 17, 1967 as a rock musical. The old Astor Library, gutted and under fresh construction, became The New York Shakespeare Festival Public Theater, and producer Joseph Papp chose HAIR to be the premiere presentation in his experimental space. The six-week run at the “Public” proved to be a perfect “out-of-town tryout.” Following its close, they were joined by, then first-time, producer Michael Butler, and HAIR moved as a direct transfer to the Cheetah nightclub. After a successful four-week run, Rado and Ragni restructured and expanded the script; Galt added thirteen new songs; and the three were determined to hire a new director and production team to realize the originally intended “invasion” of Broadway. They looked to La MaMa, and the innovative artistry of resident director Tom O’Horgan. On April 29, 1968, HAIR opened on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre with contributions by choreographer Julie Arenal, lighting designer Jules Fisher, set designer Robin Wagner, and costume designer, Nancy Potts. It was an instant phenomenon. And the rest, as they say, is history.

James Rado | Hair Co-Author
Galt MacDermot | Hair Composer
Michael Walter Harris (video)
Archival Photos by Dagmar Krajnc, Michael Butler and the Hair Private Archive


Michal Gamily – Coffeehouse Chronicles Series Director
Arthur Adair – Coffeehouse Chronicles Educational Outreach

Shaleah Adkisson is a singer, actress and teaching artist living in New York City. She’s been seen on Broadway and on tour in Hair: The American Tribal Love- Rock Musical and off-Broadway in Rent, as well as in regional productions including Clybourne Park, Avenue Q, The Hot Mikado, Beehive: The 60’s Musical, Ain’t Misbehavin, Grease, Nunsense & Children of Eden. When not working in the theatre, Shaleah works as a teaching artist with the Bridge Arts Ensemble, an organization of freelance musicians catering to school districts in upstate New York. Additionally, she performs in NYC and on tour with Soul Picnic Productions (Back to the Garden and August 1969: A Tribute to the Women of Woodstock) and also serves as a cantor at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church in NYC. www.shaleahadkisson.com

Max Chernin credits include Broadway: Bright Star. Off-Broadway: Brooklynite (Vineyard), Sunday in the Park…(City Center Encores!) Claudio Quest (NYMF.) Regional: Bright Star (Old Globe, Kennedy Center.) Various concerts at Joe’s Pub, Town Hall, and 54 Below, where he recently made his solo debut. CCM alum. TV: “Mozart In The Jungle,” “The Family.” www.maxchernin.com

When she was 15, Nina Machlin Dayton worked in the concession of the Biltmore Theatre where HAIR was playing on Broadway, and it changed her life. Since then she has worked as an actor, singer, director, producer, teacher, and artist, and now works as the HAIR archivist, consulting on productions of HAIR and related projects worldwide, while also designing knitting patterns and teaching design in the beautiful Pioneer Valley in western MA, where she relocated from her hometown of NYC some years ago. She lives in an old Victorian house stuffed to the rafters with yarn, books, and HAIR history, with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and an ancient Jack Russell terrier named Jenny.

Walter Michael Harris comes from a theater family that landed on Ellen Stewart’s doorstep in 1963. She found them an apartment around the corner and straightaway all eight of them began to turn up in La MaMa shows. Walter’s first was Lanford Wilson’s “The Sandcastle” and a long list follows. In 1967, Tom O’Horgan cast him in the original Broadway company of “HAIR.” Visit caravantooz.com for his family’s story.

Antwayn Hopper credits include Broadway: Hair. Off-Broadway: Julius Caesar/X (Acting Company,NY), A Civil War Christmas(NYTW). NY: Yeast Nation (Fringe), Lesser Mercies(EPBB), Roller Derby (NYMF), RESPECT (NYS&F), Showboat (Carnegie Hall). Select Regional: Kilroy in Camino Real(Goodman), Elegba in Brothers Size (Old Globe), Benny in Rent (Syracuse),Robert E. LeeUnCivil War (ATF), Frederick in Smokey Joe’s Cafe (New Theatre), Sportin’ Life in Porgy and Bess (Cinn. Pops Orch.). TV/Film: The Knick, Blacklist, Royal Pains, Z: The Beginning of Everything, Bored to Death, Girl Most Likely, A Gifted Man. Readings/Workshops at Williamstown, Labyrinth, Dartmouth(NYTW), Rattlestick, Playwrights, Ars Nova, Soho Rep., NYTW, Roundabout, HBO, & EPBB. Training: Carnegie Mello

Rev. Marjorie Lipari (Mudra) considers herself a Mystical Philosopher, as an Interfaith Minister. She has created music and lyrics for well over forty + years as a singer song writer. She does spiritual counseling, healing work, ceremony and writes daily.

Natalie Mosco credits include Broadway: Hair (OBC), The Magic Show (“Charmin”), West End: Grand Hotel (“Grushinskaya” alternate), Paris: Hair (“Jeanie”, in French), Australia: TV/theatre leads including Antony & Cleopatra (“Cleopatra”), Grease (“Rizzo”), 2 Gentlemen of Verona (“Julia”), Dames at Sea (“Mona Kent”), Stepping Out (“Vera”), Women Behind Bars (“Blanche”), The Archbishop’s Ceiling (“Maya”), Rocky Horror Show (“Magenta”), etc. plus numerous TV series (guests star and regular roles). Regional US: numerous roles — favorites include Housewives of Mannheim (“Sophie”, NJ Rep and 59E59St and Santa Barbara’s Ensemble), Follies (“Emily”, at Paper Mill Playhouse), A Brush With Georgia O’Keeffe (“Georgia”/author for Smithsonian Institute, St. Luke’s and The WorkShop). Foundign member Shakespeare Globe Australia.  Current member The WorkShop Theater, NYC and sundry organizations in Australia.

Allan F. Nicholls is a BAFTA and WGA award nominated veteran of the movie industry having produced, directed, acted and written music for the past forty years. He is most noted for his collaborations with Robert Altman, Time Robbins, and John Madden. Often performing multiple roles for a film, his experiences include associate producer and assistant director on Oscar nominated Dead Man Walking (1995), assistant director on the Oscar nominated The Player (1992), executive producer and assistant director for the Palme d’Or nominated Cradle Will Rock (1999), and associate producer on the Golden Globe nominated Bob Roberts (1992). His television experience includes, amongst others, being an associate director on Saturday Night Live (1989-91) and first assistant director on Tanner on Tanner (2004). He wrote A Perfect Couple (1979) and the BAFTA nominated A Wedding (1978), both directed by Robert Altman. He has also taught screenwriting at such places as NYU’s Tisch Asia School of the Arts in Singapore and Artistic Director of New York Film Academy in the UAE. To Allan’s credit too is a five-year Broadway career in several rock musicals including Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. He also starred in such films as Nashville (1975), Slap Shot (1977), and Popeye (1980).

Coffeehouse Chronicles


Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.

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