NBC will air Hair Live! in the spring of 2019, the telecast shot in front of a live audience. Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have executive produced each of NBC’s live musicals since The Sound of Music in late 2013, will executive produce the event.
Hair arrived on Broadway 50 years ago. With music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, the Hair hits include “(The Age of) Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” Good Morning Starshine” and “Manchester, England.”
HairLive! will be produced by Universal Television, MGM Television, and Zadan/Meron Productions.
“I’m overjoyed that James Rado and Galt MacDermot are trusting us with their masterpiece Hair, one of the most original shows ever conceived for Broadway with one of the greatest scores,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, NBC Entertainment. “These songs are part of the vocabulary of popular music, and this rebellious story of young people protesting and standing up for what they believe in is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago. This will be the perfect live event, and I’m looking forward to seeing Craig and Neil, along with our partners at MGM and the original creators bring the audience to their feet as they experience these beloved songs and recognizable young characters.”
HairLive! tells the story of a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York while fighting against the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friends Berger and Sheila, and their “tribe” are coming of age amidst sexual revolution while struggling with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents. Claude must decide whether to resist the draft or serve in Vietnam.
"When we both, individually, saw Hair on Broadway, we were knocked out by how musical theater could be stretched into something so daring, immersive and audacious,” said Zadan and Meron. "Its recent Broadway revival showed how timeless the show is and that it's relevant to any era. Hair is filled with heartfelt emotion, joy and thrilling music and it really will be the new dawning of the Age of Aquarius."
After an off-Broadway debut in 1967 at the Public Theater, Hair opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances.
In 2008, it returned to Broadway.
“We are thrilled to continue to work with Bob Greenblatt, NBC and now with Neil and Craig, who are the two absolute geniuses in the musical theater space,” said Mark Burnett, president, MGM Television Group. “Hair has become such an iconic film in our culture, and now on its 50th anniversary it’s the ideal time to perform it live on television.”
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.