Gerome Ragni

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Richard Eder

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Nothing ages worse than graffiti. "Hair," the hippie musical, was a raffish slogan scrawled in day-glow upon the institutional walls of the late 1960's.

Its message‚ÄĒliberation, joy, pot and multiform sex, the vision of youth as a social class of its own and, in short, the notion that there can be flowers without stalks, roots or muck to grow in has faded.

It is too far gone to be timely; too recently gone to be history or even nostalgia. Its revival has no particular occasion to it, and so it must stand or fall quite badly upon its own merits.

It falls, or rather it sags. Its virtues remain, but 10 years after its first appearance they look much feebler than they must have seemed at the time. Its glow is forced; its warmth becomes sentimentality and worse, sententiousness. Over and over one is reminded of the worst kind of religious art; the simpering or soulful hippies recall the simpering plaster virgins and soulful Christs sold around shrines.

Richard Eder, "Stage: Revived 'Hair' Shows Its Gray," in The New York Times (© 1977 by The New York Times Company; reprinted by permission), October 6, 1977, p. C22.

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