The acclaimed musical "Hair: The American Tribal Love/Rock Musical"—the first full-length show staged by Bowdoin group Curtain Callers—will take the stage in Kresge Auditorium tonight for its final performance.
Curtain Callers is the brainchild of Jordan Payne '12 and Ally Kuriloff '12, and has undergone a few transitions over the last couple of years. This year, after returning from abroad, Payne and Kuriloff officially chartered Bowdoin's only musical theater group with the help of Patrick Martin '13 and Eileen Palmer '11, all of whom directed the play.
"Hair" originally debuted in 1967 at the New York Shakespeare Festival Theater, and made its way to Broadway in 1968 under the production of Michael Butler.
According to Payne and Kuriloff, the production "tells the story of a 'tribe' of politically active, long Haired hippies in the 'Age of Aquarius' living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War."
Audiences might recognize several of the show's songs as popular anthems of the anti-Vietnam War movement.
The directors of "Hair" emphasized the communal aspects of the show. Although the cast members are individually notable for their musical abilities, the show is carried by well-known ensemble numbers such as "Aquarius" and "Let the Sunshine In."
The performance "features an ensemble cast, allowing us to showcase a large number of highly talented students," wrote the directors in an email to the Orient. "Curtain Callers is all about the cast members, and this entirely student-run production was so much a team effort."
Taylor Page '13, who plays pregnant tribe member Jeanie Ryan, said she is grateful for the opportunity that Curtain Callers gave students looking for a musical theater outlet.
"I did lots of musicals in high school but let that go when I came to Bowdoin because there weren't many opportunities. As soon as I saw one, I jumped at it," said Page.
Page continued to say that Curtain Callers paves the way for more musical productions on campus, and spoke to the social relevance of "Hair."
"I also think that this particular musical addresses a lot of issues that are still present in society today," she said.
Though written over four decades ago, "Hair" abounds with social questions ranging from topics of race, gender, sexuality and the environment.
The show features a "surprise" appearance by cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead, and makes copious references to some less than legal substances.
Hair depicts its protagonists' struggle to navigate the complex terrain between "free love" and "real love." At one point the love-struck Sheila, played by Kuriloff, asks desperately, "Where's the heart of you and me?"
The student Activities Funding Committee provided partial funding for Hair. The production also received financial support from the Women's Resource Center, the Department of Gay and Lesbian Studies, the Dean of Multicultural Affairs and an assortment of private donors. Plans for next year's show are already in the works.
"Hair" will perform tonight at 8 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium.