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Headed to Kuss, ‘Hair’ keeps growing

Long and short of it, the show stays relevant.

The moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars. The wall calendar says it’s 2013; the arts calendar says it’s the Age of Aquarius.

“Hair,” the rock musical celebrating the late 1960s hippie youth culture, will be at the Clark State Performing Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The event is presented by the Springfield Arts Council.

“Hair” was historic for being the first musical featuring all rock music and aimed at the youth culture. Its creators fought an uphill battle to get it produced, but once they did “Hair” gradually became a classic musical.

So given the late 1960s timeframe with a cast of hippies, would it make it make the show a time capsule? Not necessarily, said “Hair” musical director Lilli Wosk.

“So much is still relevant: We’re still fighting for equality, wanting to live in harmony, open mindedness and civil liberties carried forward,” she said.

Audiences and critics agreed, as this version of “Hair” won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. This national touring show will be presented just a day after the 45th anniversary of its Broadway debut.

Besides the relevant themes, there is the music. Several songs from “Hair” were covered by other artists of the time and became big radio hits.

“I’d be shocked if people didn’t know some of these songs,” said Wosk. “These were revolutionary at the time.”

“Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” “Hair,” “Good Morning Starshine” and “Easy To Be Hard” all placed in the top five on the Billboard chart during the late ’60s.

The show’s characters and premise have remained the same, but Wosk said some lines and aspects have been changed to fit the times.

Wosk said it’s interesting since the audience is often a mix of the generation portrayed onstage and their children, who are the ages of the characters.

One of the fun parts is some attendees are interactive, wearing their hippie gear and getting into the energy of the show. Wosk said she and the musicians even dress like hippies.

“ ‘Hair’ is a universal show,” Wosk said. “Anybody will be moved. It’s a throwback, but the spirit is still relevant.”

The Springfield Arts Council recommends “Hair” is for mature audiences. The show may be suitable for young adults ages 13 and older and parental discretion is advised. Note that there is a dimly lit 20-second scene with nudity that is of a nonsexual nature.

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