Musical Drama

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When did technology start being part of music theatre and when did electronic music become part of modern theatre?

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Perhaps the most famous example of electric instrumentation in modern musical theatre occurred with the musical Hair, also known as "The American Tribal Love Rock Musical." It was first performed Off Broadway in 1967, and this was a year when rock music was seeing very iconic performers in the UK and USA producing very influential albums, including Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, David Bowie and others. Because rock music was such an influential part of youth culture the creators of Hair believed it needed to be part of musical theatre as well. The music for this show was written by Galt McDermot, with lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado. The songs were all rock songs, some ballads and some instrumentals. Electric guitars, electric bass, rock-style percussion and electronic keyboards were all utilized in the songs, and some of the lyrics came from coffee house poets who shared their work in the 1960s. Songs from the show were recorded by various artists and singles from the soundtrack album were also heard on the radio. 

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