For First Time in 45 Years, 'Hair''s Original Off-Broadway Script Will Be Heard in Chicago in 2013

Kenneth Jones

American Theater Company, the Chicago troupe that found success with a staging of the original, gritty version of Grease in 2011, will unearth the original Off-Broadway script of Hair in 2013.

ATC will end its 28th season next spring with "a restored and revised version of the classic American rock musical Hair." Artistic director PJ Paparelli directs the project, teaming with Hair co-creator James Rado "to restore original material from the 1968 Off-Broadway production that hasn't been seen in 45 years," according to ATC, which announced its 2012-13 season on May 16. 

Hair, with music by Galt MacDermot and lyrics and book by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, will play April 26-June 16, 2013.

Here's how ATC bills it: "Greenwich Village. 1968. During the most tumultuous year in our nation's history, a group of young hippies explore sex, love, and rock 'n' roll while fighting for civil rights and the end of the war in Vietnam. Artistic director PJ Paparelli and author James Rado return to the original 1967 Off-Broadway script to revise and restore material never-before-seen in the controversial rock musical that forever changed the American theatre."

The Off-Broadway hit landed on Broadway in 1968, earning a 1969 Tony nomination as Best Musical. The loose-knit show played four years, toured and was later revised and reimagined by director Diane Paulus for a 2009 Broadway revival that won the Tony as Best Musical Revival; the revival played London, toured and made a return engagement on Broadway in 2011.

The Broadway score includes "Where Do I Go," "Frank Mills," "Easy to Be Hard," "Hair," "I Got Life," "Let the Sunshine In" and more. (An earlier version of this article wrongly indicated that the Chicago run would include alternate musical elements. In fact, the Broadway score will be presented.)

Read the 2011 Playbill feature about ATC's hit Original Grease

The 2012-13 ATC season also includes two plays touching on the Roman Catholic experience, John Patrick Shanley's Doubt and John Pielmeier's Agnes of God, to play in rep and feature ensemble member Sadieh Rifai.

Two radio-style works, The Wizard of Oz and It's a Wonderful Life, will play in rep over the holidays.

The season will also offer the world premiere of the revised version of the United States Theatre Project's columbinus, about the tragic school shooting in Colorado, conceived and directed by artistic director PJ Paparelli. "Following in the wake of contemporary shootings like those at Virginia Tech, Paparelli will return to Littleton, Colorado for the first time in ten years to conduct new interviews with survivors and community members," according to ATC notes. "The revised production of columbinus will be part of the theatre community's citywide discussion on school violence 'Now Is the Time to Act,' together with Steppenwolf and About Face Theater."

The work, to play January and February 2013, is written by Stephen Karam and PJ Paparelli, with dramaturgy by Patricia Hersch. Here's how it's billed: "Littleton, Colorado. 1999. Two teenagers devastate a community and shock the country when they walk into their suburban high school and kill 12 students and one teacher. Based on interviews with teenagers across the country and survivors and community members in Littleton, this haunting drama takes a hard look at modern teenagers through the lens of the most infamous high school shooting in American history."

For more information, visit atcweb.org.