Claude as a space alien? American Theater Company to stage the original 'Hair'

Last year, Chicago's American Theater Company staged the original "Grease." In 2013, artistic director PJ Paparelli has his sights set on the original, off-Broadway version of the iconic hippie musical "Hair."

According to Paparelli, ATC will stage the 1967 version of the "American Tribal Love-Rock Musical" (first directed by Gerald Freedman at the Public Theater), replete with a newly restored script by James Rado featuring old material that has not been staged in 45 years. Rado's co-writer, Gerome Ragni, died in 1991.

In an interview Wednesday, Paparelli said he was also talking with composer Galt MacDermot about including some of the original songs that were cut before the Broadway production.

"But we'll definitely have a new script with different lyrics for 'Aquarius,'" Paparelli said.

The "Hair" restoration/revival will be the climax of ATC's 2012-13 season. The slate will start this fall with productions of "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley and "Agnes of God' by John Peilmeier, with the two plays about faith and the Roman Catholic Church staged in rotating repertory.

Over the holidays, ATC will add a new radio version of "The Wizard of Oz" to its longstanding tradition of "It's a Wonderful Life," with both radio plays staged in seasonal rep. "Hopefully," Paparelli said, "people will want to come and see both of them."

In January, ATC will stage a newly updated version of "Columbinus," the piece about school shootings that was conceived by Paparelli and penned with Stephen Karam. This will be the first production of the new version.

American Theater Company is based on Chicago's North Side at 1909 W. Byron St.


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