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Don’t hold your breath for the show’s famous nudity to make its way to broadcast television, but NBC has chosen Hair as its next live musical.
The network on Thursday announced that the 50-year-old Broadway hit of the hippie generation will be its latest live staging, with plans for a spring 2019 telecast. That fills the void left by the twice-delayed staging of Bye, Bye Birdie , which star and executive producer Jennifer Lopez recently revealed to The Hollywood Reporter is still on the back burner.
Like the network’s stagings of The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, The Wiz, Hairspray and the recent Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair will be executive produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — in association with Universal Television and MGM Television.
“I’m overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores,” NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement. “These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I’m looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators, bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters.”
Said Zadan and Meron: “When we both, individually, saw Hair on Broadway, we were knocked out by how musical theater could be stretched into something so daring, immersive and audacious. Its recent Broadway revival showed how timeless the show is and that it’s relevant to any era. Hair is filled with heartfelt emotion, joy and thrilling music, and it really will be the new dawning of the Age of Aquarius.”
Hair has been revived several times since its original 1968 Broadway run, most recently with a celebrity-studded staging at the Hollywood Bowl, and received a film adaptation by Milos Forman in 1979. It tackled the Vietnam War, drugs, race, gender and sexual identity in a manner few mainstream musicals did at the time. The brief nudity in most stagings was also rather revolutionary when it first debuted.
As for NBC, its live musicals have yet to return to the heights reached by The Sound of Music in 2013, but they continue to offer a pretty good ratings payout and, more often than not, critical enthusiasm.
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