.Hippie Hooray! Santa Rosa’s 6th Street Playhouse Lets the Sunshine In

Remember the good ol’ days when all a teenage boy had to worry about was being drafted into the military, trained to kill and shipped off to a foreign land to die defending corporate interests in the name of democracy? Well, we can relive the grand old ’60s by attending the 6th Street Playhouse production of the musical Hair, running now in Santa Rosa through March 6.

Director Aja Gianola-Norris has assembled a beautifully diverse cast to tell the story of a group of politically-active hippies living a bohemian life in the tumultuous ’60s. As the audience was seated, the troupe wandered the stage, banged on bongos, swayed in the air and blew soap bubbles into the house. As my seatmate noted, that may not be the best choice in the age of Covid.

The show officially began with a robust delivery of “The Age of Aquarius” led by Serena Elize Flores. As the music faded and the audience settled in, the characters introduced themselves via songs that made it clear this would not be a Disney musical.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Berger (Ezra Hernandez) pines for a 16-year-old virgin in the song “Donna.” The tribe sings of a variety of drugs with the song “Hashish.” Woof (Noah Sternhill) croons about “Sodomy.” Hud (Jourdán Olivier-Verdé) defiantly delivers a series of ugly racial epithets with “Colored Spade.” But don’t worry folks, you’ll hear “Good Morning, Starshine” and “Let the Sunshine In” by show’s end.

The music is draped around a bare-bones story about tribe leader Clyde (Jamin Jollo) struggling to decide whether to report for the draft or dodge it. The other hot-button issues of the time—including sexual freedom, environmentalism and racism—are all addressed. Interesting to note how little some things have changed.

Sam Transleau has designed a very functional set on a raked stage with the zodiac at its center. Costume Designer Mae Haegerty Matos had a field day dressing the cast, as did Hair/Wig Designer Roxie Johnson. Lucas Sherman assuredly guided a six-piece orchestra through the raucous score.

Sound continues to be an Achilles heel at 6th Street. A sound designer is rarely credited and often needed. The artists and audiences deserve better.

Hair is a well-performed, good-looking and definitely adult show, with mature themes and content, including nudity. Exclamations of “Oh!” and “Jeez!” could be heard from the audience throughout.

But no one left at intermission.

‘Hair’ runs through March 6 in the GK Hardt Theatre at 6th Street Playhouse, 52 W. Sixth Street, Santa Rosa. Thur, Fri & Sat, 7:30pm; Sat & Sun, 2pm. $22–$38. Proof of vaccination and masks are required to attend. 707.523.4185. 6thstreeetplayhouse.com.


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