Gerome Ragni Henry Hewes - Essay

Henry Hewes

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Hair has a minimum of plot, being content merely to try to describe what it is like to be a teen-age hippie. Gerome Ragni and James Rado, who wrote the book and lyrics … appear to take no sides in the war between generations. But because they are attempting to show us the world as it looks to the kids, the older people are presented as parodies of such attitudes as the one which allows a man to be proud that his son will die for his country in Vietnam….

There is a good deal of irreverent humor, and one touchingly funny song in which a girl … asks in an innocent voice that an obviously insensitive brief acquaintance return and take advantage of her and her girl friend again. Oddly enough, the best of the music is that which sounds least rock 'n' roll. Indeed, the lovely "Good Morning Starshine,"… which captures the wonderful feeling a young girl experiences when she stays up all night with a young man, would be a hit in a more conventional musical.

All in all, Hair is only a sporadically engaging musical, but if you would like to take a first step toward comprehending the younger generation, it seems to be a truer and fairer representation of hippiedom than anything the theater has offered so far.

Henry Hewes, "The Theater of Shattered Focus," in Saturday Review (copyright © 1968 by Saturday Review; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), Vol. LI, No. 2, January 13, 1968, p. 95.∗