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The Beginnings of the Rock Musical

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The Beginnings of the Rock Musical Hair and American Counterculture First of all what is rock and roll ? Distinctly American style Developed from blues ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Beginnings of the Rock Musical


1
The Beginnings of the Rock Musical
  • Hair and American Counterculture

2
First of allwhat is rock and roll?
  • Distinctly American style
  • Developed from blues, country, rhythm and blues,
    folk, and gospel music
  • Usually uses electric guitar, bass, and drum set
  • Piano and sax were original lead instruments, but
    eventually replaced by guitar

3
Rock in musicals prior to Hair
  • First used in the 1957 Ziegfeld Follies
  • One song The Juvenile Delinquent was a rock
    song
  • Bye, Bye, Birdie (1960) integrated elements of
    rock into the score
  • At that time, the rock style was the rockabilly
    music popularized by Elvis

4
The development of Hair
  • Conceived by actors James Rado and Gerome Ragni
  • Rado wanted to write in the Rodgers and
    Hammerstein tradition and studied acting with Lee
    Strasberg
  • Ragni, on the other hand, was involved in an
    experimental theater group in NYC

5
Opening
  • Developed at the NY Shakespeare Festivals Public
    Theatre
  • Rado and Ragni wrote it for themselves
  • Brought in Grammy-Winning composer Galt McDermot
    to write music
  • Originally shorter and had a conventional plot
  • Now full length and nearly plot-less, similar to
    a concept musical
  • Opened in 1968-some saw it as revolutionary,
    others were offended

6
What made Hair different?
  • Music and subject matter
  • Partial erasure of boundary between audience and
    stage
  • Avoidance of a conventional narration
  • Gave more importance to the group than the
    individual
  • Choreography was meant to seem spontaneous

7
What does Hair say about the country at the time
  • The tribe is saddened by the replacement of
    moral values with material ones
  • Every major social issue is touched
  • Air- pollution
  • Aint Got No- poverty
  • Colored Spade, Black Boys- Race relations
  • The War- Vietnam
  • Dont Put it Down- Patriotism

8
Reactions
  • Critics were generally positive
  • Touring groups were taken to court for being
    indecent- even went to the Supreme Court (twice!)
  • Mirrored the discontent of the younger generation
  • Created a a vibrant, youth-based commune outside
    of the mainstream

9
Lasting Cultural legacy
  • Championed the counterculture ideals
  • Peace, community, innocence, sympathy, trust
  • Peak of the issue-driven musicals of the 1960s,
    and preview of what was to come in the next
    decade
  • Rebellion and individualism continue to be themes
    appreciated by youth
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