Thursday, May 24, 2018

A HAIR Cut for NBC?

This was the rock musical of the late 1960s that caused a great big controversy when it hit Broadway.  Folks either hated it -- like Leonard Bernstein and Betty Comden -- or they loved it -- like lots and lots of young theatre goers.  HAIR reflected and commented on the turbulent political times, changing social attitudes and the free-spirited youth movement with its R-rated lyrics and its now-famous group nude scene.  So, after a day of news about Trump pulling out of a summit meeting in Korea, we got news of another live upcoming musical production on NBC, the network that started the Orange One on his move from self-absorbed, conservative TV celebrity to self-absorbed, conservative president.  NBC gave us live TV productions of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, PETER PAN, THE WIZ, HAIRSPRAY and the excellent telecast of JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR starring John Legend. Now on the NBC schedule for spring of next year -- HAIR.
Yes...HAIR.  With the R-rated song lyrics and the group nude scene.  HAIR was successfully transferred to film with an exuberant 1979 adaptation directed by the late, great Milos Forman.  Treat Williams, Annie Golden (of TV's ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK), John Savage and Beverly D'Angelo starred.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I'll assume that NBC will cut and sanitize HAIR to be a network 2019 presentation.  I've seen HAIR onstage.  It's an unconventional rock musical that makes a point.  Will NBC let viewers experience "Sodomy" in prime time?  That's one of the songs in the original Broadway production.  It's also in the film version.

Another song from the original Broadway production is..."Colored Spade."  Click onto the link and listen:

There's a song you'll never hear covered by Michael Bublé.

And then there's the cast nude scene.
If NBC will take the curl out of HAIR, will it still work?  Why not go with something that would not have to be edited and censored? Something like the Broadway musical version of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Jerry Herman's musical version of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, THE PAJAMA GAME, PURLIE or THE UNSINKABLE MOLLY BROWN?  Or Lea Michele in FUNNY GIRL?  That last one could be a live TV production for closeted gay men to come out by.

HAIR also gave us the songs "Good Morning Starshine," "Aquarius," and "Let The Sunshine In." They did well on the pop charts covered by top vocalists and groups of the day.


  1. NBC already showed a dick on live TV, they had Trump on SNL.

  2. Hair is the one musical I didn't expect NBC to do, but then I seem to recall Fox did The Rocky Horror Show a while back. I suspect that was sanitised for TV too.

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