Congratulations to the Columbia College Chicago alumni and students in the new production of the classic rock musical Hair, running through July 1 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in the northern Chicago suburb of Arlington Heights. The show got a rave review from the northwest suburban Daily Herald, which called the show “bold, exuberant and faithful to the original.” This production marks the 50th anniversary of Hair‘s Off-Broadway premiere as the debut production of the Public Theatre in New York City. With book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot, the show focuses on a generation in cultural crisis — a tribe of young hippies celebrating freedom, love, sex, and drugs. As they challenge authority and protest the war in Vietnam, one of their members is called into the military draft, forcing them to examine their values.
Critic Barbara Vitello singled out the work of Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department students Noah Spiegel-Blum and Aalon Smith, both students in the Theatre Department’s BFA Program in Musical Theatre, as well as alums Mondisa Monde ’14, a graduate of the BA Program in Musical Theatre; Musical Theatre Performance BFA graduates Mollyanne Nunn ’14 and Brittany Wolf ’15; and former student Ninah Snipes. Vitello also praised the show’s musical director, Kailey Rockwell ’13, a graduate of the Columbia College Chicago Music Department‘s Bachelor of Music Program with a Concentration in Contemporary Urban and Popular Music, for her “zealous, fearless cast of strong singers” and “great-sounding rock septet.” Also in the cast of Hair are Columbia College Theatre alums Alex Newkirk ’11, a Musical Theatre Performance BFA graduate, and Aaron Mitchell Reese ’12, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, as well as current Musical Theatre Performance BFA student Brandy Miller.
“Perhaps what’s most impressive about Metropolis’ revival,” Vitello concluded, “is it demonstrates just how far the Arlington Heights theater has come since a time — not so long ago — when middling, modern romance musical revues dominated its stage. . . . Hair reflects the ambition and daring that has characterized Metropolis productions since Joe Keefe took over as artistic director in 2015. Opening night’s near-capacity crowd — which included more young adults than usual — suggests audiences have warmed to Keefe’s vision.” Keefe is a former Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department student.
Hair runs through July 1 at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, 111 W. Campbell, Arlington Heights. For tickets, call 847-577-2121 or click here.