6 09 2008

This is a belated PSA for anyone in New York this week with some time to spare. Every summer thousands of New Yorkers engage in a ritual: they see free shows. But first, they camp out for hours at a time to secure tickets for said shows. The name of the “ritual” is Shakspeare in the Park but this year there is a slight diversion. Instead of the bard, New Yorkers are seeing a lively rendition of Hair.

Last week, I got up at 5 am and headed to the Delacourt Theater with a giant coffee to camp out until the box office started passing out tickets at 1 pm. Before you start groaning, I have two things to say: 1) the line is all part of the fun. It’s there that you meet the colorful cast of characters also crazy enough to wait around for free tickets. Plus, there is something oddly freeing about a person telling you that you must sit in the sun and not leave your spot for six hours. 2) The show is well worth it. For one thing, it’s simply grand to sit outside and watch a great show. But Hair is energetic and beautifully done. Masterful light work brings the psychadelic era to life, and the cast is not only talented but fun. It’s clear they enjoy what they’re doing, and they make others enjoy it as well.

And (now for the soapbox part) it’s topical. We may not spout free love or hold be-ins anymore, but we’re still at war. Seeing this great show and talking to the passionate people around me (this was after Palin’s speech so many were up in arms) made me both proud to live where I do and ashamed at the lethargy of my generation. But enough preaching: go see Hair! (And hurry: it closes this weekend.)