I've been trying to catch up on my Playbill Radio podcasts. There are a lot I haven't listened to yet and at this point, some of the shows have opened and closed already. But these two are going strong:
I liked this quote from Carole Shelley, who plays the grandmother in Billy Elliot, as she politely declines to describe a particular scene in the musical:
"I don't really want to spoil it because I think it is one of the most stunningly choreographed pieces I have ever a., seen in my life and b., been a part of. So I would rather not say anything about it, if that's all right with you. I think surprises are the most exciting part of going to the theater."
You're right, Ms. Shelley, and I'm trying to be less spoilerish in my reviews! I know I do way too much research before I go to a show. (What can I say - I'm an information junkie. I was the type of kid who loved doing term papers.) Most of the time, knowing less is better.
Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of the Public Theater, does engage in a little hyperbole here, but I think he makes a good point about Hair's place in American popular culture. Part of the reason, of course, is that entertainment has become more diffuse. I mean, do we even have a common pop culture anymore?
"Hair is on the one hand, one could make the case it's the classic American musical. It was the last American stage show that became the soundtrack for a generation. There's been no show on stage since Hair that actually the whole country knows. Phantom of the Opera? I don't think so."
Okay, Phantom's an easy target but I bet the Public and Mr. Eustis would be happy to have Hair run on Broadway for 21 years - and counting!