Ole Miss Theatre will perform the musical “Hair” this weekend at the Gertrude C. Ford Performing Arts Center.
“Hair” takes place during the “baby boomer” generation and explores the hippie culture of the 1960s. The musical follows a “tribe” of young adults who question and reject war and violence, especially the chaos of the Vietnam War. The musical’s underlying theme of peace is communicated through the trials of the main characters and songs throughout the play.
Ole Miss Theatre’s production is directed by Rhona Justice-Malloy and choreographed by professor Jennifer Mizenko. “Hair” details the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War and recalls the optimism of the effected generation.
“Optimistic is a mild word for them. That generation of people thought they could change the world with the love power that they had,” Mizenko explained. “People get excited when they hear ‘Hair,’ and they should because it is a fun show. But there is a stronger message of preventing war. The deeper meaning of ‘Hair’ is figuring out how do we change the world and stop violence.”
According to Mizenko, in the 1960s, stopping violence and bringing world change happened through “profound love.” The musical discusses the outward methodology of sex and drugs during the 60s.
“They thought they were creating and sharing love through this idea of universal sex,” Mizenko said.
“Hair” continues to poignantly resonate today.
“We still find ourselves involved in a variety of conflicts around the world that seemingly have no real good purpose or resolution,” Justice-Malloy said. “That is very much how the Vietnam War was seen in the 1960s.”
Max Mattox, a senior and BFA musical theater major, plays Berger, a main character in “Hair,” and describes it as a very powerful production to be a part of and witness.
“The show is so freeing. There are not a lot of musicals like it,” Mattox said.
“Hair” delves into the one of the most publicized and face-to-face wars in American history, and in Mattox’s eyes, these themes are relevant because “people are still going to war today.”
Malloy and Mizenko both agree that the production is a challenging one, but the students involved are rising to the occasion. Audiences should expect to see a lively performance from a talented all-student cast and an enticing storyline. On-stage dreamy hallucinations, well known tunes and a live band are all elements that make this production one-of-a-kind.
“Hair” will run Friday, Nov. 13 – Sunday, Nov. 15. For ticket prices and showtimes, visit theatre.olemiss.edu online, or contact the University of Mississippi Box Office at 662-915-7411.