I thought I was done with Hair. I’d seen it in several productions, with several casts, on more than one continent, and I’d bid it farewell. Packed the Playbills into the memory box beneath my bed.
But then Steel Burkhardt—current theater love numero uno—was cast as Berger in the touring company. And a trip to LA coincided with closing weekend at the Pantages. And all bets were off. I bought tickets. I think this is what average folks call ‘addiction.’
Seeing Hair at the Pantages was like seeing Hair for the first time—absolutely joyous. I left the theater wishing this ‘Where Do I Go Tribe’ had been the Broadway replacement cast. They were so energetic, natural and exuberant—so everything this past spring’s replacement cast was not. I credit that mostly to the superb leads, from Steel Burkhardt and Paris Remillard to Kacie Sheik, Darius Nichols and Matt DeAngelis. They set an amazing standard and the rest of the tribe was right there to support them every step of the way.
Other Important Things of Note:
Steel Burkhardt is glorious. He’s really made Berger his own—goofier and more loving, with less of an asshole underbelly—and he owns that theater. Honestly, he’s absolutely mesmerizing.
Steel and Paris have wonderful chemistry. I was worried—Gavin Creel and Will Swenson’s chemistry seemed impossible to beat—but by the time the orgy started in Act II my stomach was in absolute knots. So were my panties.
Speaking of Paris. After Jonathan Groff, Gavin Creel and even Jay A Johnson, he had some stiff competition in the Claude department. Mr. Remillard more than rose to the occasion with his beautiful voice and honest, searching vulnerability.
They kept some approximation of Gavin Creel’s Golden Note in “I Got Life.” It was exciting to hear it again. I leapt up in my seat and elbowed my friend when it soared out.
Matt DeAngelis’ Woof is ridiculously lovely. There’s something so pure and pretty about both his voice and his take on fuzz-loving Woof.
Josh Lamon and Allison Guinn make a wonderful pair, on stage as well as off.
You should go see the tour if the chance comes your way. It’s the best cure for a bad day I’ve ever found, and damn good entertainment any other day of the week.
PS. We scored an interview with Steel Burkhardt, and it was amazing. (He used the word ‘nipples,’ y’all. Nipples!) We’ll be posting it next week, so keep your eyes peeled and come back to check it out.