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Celebrate the summer of love with ‘Hair’

A groundbreaking stage production that offers today’s city dwellers and suburbanites a glimpse of the rebellious youth culture of the late 1960s will launch the SummerStage 2016 season at Northwestern University.30

“HAIR: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” will be staged on the Evanston campus from July 15 through July 31, at the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive.

Broadway’s first hit rock musical will be presented by Northwestern’s Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts.

With book and lyrics by the late Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by composer Galt MacDermot, “HAIR” will be guest directed by Matt Hawkins. Hawkins is a founding member of The House Theatre of Chicago, where he also is a director, actor and fight choreographer. Hawkins directed the Wirtz Center’s SummerStage 2014 swashbuckling production of “The Pirates of Penzance.”

“HAIR” is set at the end of the 1960s in New York City where lead character Claude’s young life converges with an eclectic group of long-haired hippies who invite him to join the “tribe.” There, he is introduced to the hippie counterculture and the sexual revolution that scandalized American society during the war-torn Vietnam era. However, the group’s love-filled and radical way of life is thrown into disarray when Claude is drafted and the “tribe” is torn apart.

Bridging generations and viewpoints, “HAIR” is the first musical to electrify Broadway with an infused rock-n-roll score featuring the enduring songs “Let the Sun Shine In,” “Aquarius,” “Hair” and “Good Morning Starshine.”

“This show celebrates young people and their rebellion against authority, but also explores the devastation and destruction that war has on humanity,” Hawkins said. “Many images and struggles from this 1960s society parallel similar cultural and emotional turmoil of the present day. With that in mind, this production serves as a memorial for our protagonist, Claude, as a name on the Vietnam Memorial Wall. ‘HAIR’ aspires to remember the people who died and the people it affected.”

“HAIR” will be staged at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 15; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 17; 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 22; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, July 24: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 29; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 30; and7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 31, at the Barber Theater.

NOTE: The production contains strong language, simulated drug use, sexual content and violence.

Tickets are $30 for the general public, $27 for Northwestern staff and faculty, and seniors 65 and older; and $10 for full-time students with current Northwestern Wildcard IDs.

Single tickets and discounted tickets for groups of eight are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at www.wirtz.northwestern.edu or through the Wirtz Center Box Office by calling 847-491-7282.

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