NBC has announced their next live musical event, Hair Live, which is slated to be broadcast in the spring of 2019 in front of a live audience. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron are returning to executive produce, marking their fifth NBC live musical event. They have been behind all of NBC's live musicals since the annual tradition started in 2013 with The Sound of Music Live, followed by Peter Pan Live! in 2014, The Wiz Live! in 2015, Grease: Live in 2016 and this year's Jesus Christ Superstar Live. They are also behind the upcoming A Few Good Men Live and Bye Bye Birdie Live that are also potentially slated for 2019.
Fifty years ago Hair burst onto Broadway in the midst of the anti-Vietnam War movement and was groundbreaking in many ways. Since then, its integrated cast, message of protest and peace, and certified-platinum "rock" score have become iconic. With music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, Hair has a string of hits that have been played all over the globe, including "(The Age of) Aquarius," "Let the Sun Shine In," Good Morning Starshine," (all #1 hits in 1969), "Hair," "Manchester, England," "Frank Mills" and more. Here's what Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, had to say in a statement.
"I'm overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores. These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I'm looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters."
Hair Live follows a group of politically active hippies living in New York City while actively protesting America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The story follows close friends Claude, Berger and Sheila who are all coming of age in the midst of these protests while also dealing with their conservative parents and other societal pressures. Hair debuted off-Broadway in October 1967, as the first performance of the now iconic Public Theater, before its Broadway debut in April 1968. Here's what Zadan and Meron said in a joint statement.
"When we both, individually, saw Hair on Broadway, we were knocked out by how musical theater could be stretched into something so daring, immersive and audacious. Its recent Broadway revival showed how timeless the show is and that it's relevant to any era. Hair is filled with heartfelt emotion, joy and thrilling music and it really will be the new dawning of the Age of Aquarius."
Hair ran for 1,750 performances and became a cultural phenomenon that also spawned huge hits on the pop charts, and productions in cities all across the world, including a London run that spanned 1,997 performances. A feature film adaptation was released in 1979, directed by Milos Forman, with a Broadway revival directed by Dianel Paulus debuting in 2008 at the Delacourte Theatre before moving to Broadway in 2009. NBC hasn't announced any casting at this time but that may be coming soon.