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Dawning of the age of ‘Hair’

March 25, 2011
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Published in Metro

In the first act of “Hair,” black character Hud sings that he is “president of the United States of love.”“That line always resonates with me, because he’s saying it as a joke,” says Matt DeAngelis, a performer in the musical’s current national tour. “Sure enough, look how far we’ve come. The people who wrote this show, and saw this show, are what helped us get here.”

The iconic 1967-debuted rock musical is a throwback to the past for those who came of age in the ’60s. For the generations that came after, “Hair” is an illustration of a tumultuous time, with still-relevant themes.

“Issues of sex and race and drugs, of what’s American and what’s un-American — these are universal themes that haven’t gone away, and I don’t think ever will,” DeAngelis says. The Boston-area native and Boston Conservatory alumnus plays Woof, an idealistic guy who loves everybody. “He lives the way we all wish we could.”

DeAngelis has played the role for about two years, on Broadway, in London, and now on tour.

“It’s really a different experience getting into these characters, different than any other show,” he says. “To do it effectively, you have to examine your life, really know what you stand for.”

‘Hair’ to stay

Director Diane Paulus earned a Tony nomination for her revival of “Hair.” Bostonians know Paulus as artistic director of American Repertory Theater, where she first made a huge glittery splash locally with disco sensation “The Donkey Show.” Audiences are invited to dance with the cast on stage in both musicals.

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