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Lowell Davies Festival Theatre

The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical
Book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed by James Vásquez
Choreography by Rickey Tripp

The Age of Aquarius dawns again! It’s the Summer of Love, and a group of young Americans are looking to change the world! Directed by James Vásquez (The Old Globe’s American Mariachi and Tiny Beautiful Things), this legendary rock musical bursts onto the outdoor stage with its Grammy Award–winning score, featuring iconic hits such as “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and the exuberant title song. Make love, not war!—and celebrate “harmony and understanding” with Broadway’s first great rock musical.

For mature audiences. Contains brief nudity.

Hair is generously supported by production sponsors Terry Atkinson and Kathy Taylor, Nikki and Ben Clay, Karen and Donald Cohn, Pamela Farr and Buford Alexander, Paula and Brian Powers, and Vicki and Carl Zeiger.

Cast and Creatives


Gerome Ragni (Book and Lyrics), 1935–1991, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was the youngest of a large family with six sisters and two brothers. After four years as a medic in the United States Air Force, he began acting and was recognized by winning the Barter Theatre Award as Outstanding Young Actor. He appeared on Broadway in John Gielgud’s Hamlet featuring Richard Burton, and he starred Off Broadway in The Knack. Mr. Ragni was involved with The Open Theater (which he named), studying experimental theatre techniques with Nola Chilton and Joseph Chaikin. With James Rado, he co-created the American tribal love-rock musical Hair, and their lyrics were set to music by Galt MacDermot. A dynamic stage and life presence, Mr. Ragni originated the role of Berger in Hair. On his own, he authored the Broadway musical Dude, with score by Mr. MacDermot. He teamed up with another composer, Steve Margoshes, who wrote the music for the opus Jack Sound and His Dog Star Blowing His Final Trumpet on the Day of Doom. Soon thereafter, he and Mr. Rado rejoined forces to collaborate on a new musical they called Sun. A gifted actor and prolific writer and painter, Mr. Ragni originated “paper-napkin art,” and he wrote a volume of dynamic poetry under the pen name Virginia Miller. His son, Erick Ragni, is an innovative architect.

James Rado (Book and Lyrics) is an actor, songwriter, and co-creator of the characters, story, dialogue, and lyrics of Hair. His daydream since being a teenager was to write a Broadway musical. He taught himself how to write lyrics from intense study of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Rodgers and Hart, and Cole Porter, as well as pop music from the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. In college, he wrote the music and lyrics for two shows: Interlude at University of Maryland and Cross Your Fingers at The Catholic University of America. After a two-year gig in the United States Navy, in 1956 he moved to New York to be an actor. Five years later he got his first Broadway break when the famed director and teacher Lee Strasberg plucked him from an acting class for a small part in June Havoc’s Marathon ’33 starring Julie Harris. This led to a string of acting roles in Luther, Generation, The Knack, and, in 1964, Hang Down Your Head and Die, where he met fellow actor Gerome Ragni. He told Mr. Ragni about his daydream of creating a Broadway musical and proposed that they team up to write a show about the hippies and the anti-war movement that was happening all around them. Mr. Ragni came aboard with some of his exciting experimental poetry. In 1966, in the midst of writing Hair, Mr. Rado got a leading role as Richard the Lionhearted in the James Goldman play The Lion in Winter starring Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris, and Christopher Walken. By 1967, Mr. Rado and Mr. Ragni had a script of Hair and handed it to the producer Joseph Papp. Mr. Papp liked what he read and decided Hair would be the inaugural production of his newly founded New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theater on New York City’s Lower East Side. The rest is theatrical history. Hair opened on Broadway in the spring of 1968 and starred Mr. Rado and Mr. Ragni in the lead roles. Over the intervening years, Mr. Rado has been working on two other pieces: American Rainbow and Sun.

Galt MacDermot (Music), 1928–2018, a two-time Grammy Award–winning and Tony Award–nominated composer, is best known for the music he wrote for the Broadway scores of Hair and Two Gentlemen of Verona. He garnered his first Grammy for the song “African Waltz” in 1960. His work spans the gamut of performing arts: musicals, ballet scores, film scores, chamber music, the Anglican liturgy, orchestral works, poetry, drama accompaniments, band repertory, and opera. His work encompasses a wealth of musical genres, crossing the boundaries of jazz, folk, funk, gospel, reggae, and classical styles. The son of a Canadian diplomat, Mr. MacDermot was born and raised in Montreal. He received a bachelor of music from University of Cape Town in South Africa. Based on his traditional training, he wrote his own arrangements. He moved to New York in 1964 and three years later wrote the music for the landmark Broadway production Hair, which he later adapted for the screen. He formed the New Pulse Jazz Band in 1979, which featured his original music played by some of the world’s greatest musicians, including Bernard Purdie and Wilbur Bascomb. Mr. MacDermot’s music is consistently sampled by hip-hop and rap artists who find his rhythms perfect for setting their lyrics to, as in Run-DMC’s Grammy Award–winning Down with the King, and Billboard’s chart-buster “Woo-Hah!! Got You All in Check” by Busta Rhymes. Mr. MacDermot wrote more than 3,000 songs over his lifetime. His music is listened to and enjoyed in 122 countries worldwide, and Hair has been performed constantly in over 40 countries worldwide since its inception.

James Vásquez (Director) recently directed the West Coast premieres of Hurricane Diane and Tiny Beautiful Things and the world premiere of American Mariachi at The Old Globe, where he has also directed Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Rich Girl, and Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show and provided musical staging and movement for several additional productions. His directing and choreography credits also include work at Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theatre Company, Children’s Theatre Company, and Dallas Theater Center, as well as developmental workshops for La Jolla Playhouse and Goodspeed Musicals. He is the recipient of the Craig Noel Award for his productions In the Heights (Moonlight Stage Productions) and Sweeney Todd (Cygnet Theatre Company). Vásquez is an amateur gardener, lover of dogs, and graduate of The Juilliard School.

Rickey Tripp (Choreography) is a dance educator and certified Zena Rommett Floor-Barre™ Mentor. He received a B.A. in Dance from San Jose State University. He served as director and choreographer for The Temptations Tribute and choreographer for the world premiere of A Wonderful World (Miami New Drama), In the Heights, Hairspray, and Dreamgirls (Dallas Theater Center; Irma P. Hall Black Theater Award for Best Choreography) and In the Heights (Music Circus). His television and film credits include Disney, Encore!, and It’s Quiet Uptown. Mr. Tripp as the associate choreographer for Once on This Island (national tour/NETworks), Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare in the Park), Toni Stone (Roundabout Theatre Company), the world premiere and Tony Award nominee for Best Choreography Choir Boy (Manhattan Theatre Club, Broadway), the 2018 Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert (NBC), the 2018 Tony Award winner for Best Revival of aMusical Once on This Island (Broadway), Cabin in the Sky (City Center Encores!), Victoria’s Secret internet commercial, and Broadway Boys. He was also the assistant choreographer for Dreamgirls (North Shore Music Theatre), the world premiere of Fly (Dallas Theater Center), The Winters Tale (Shakespeare Theatre Company), and The Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center/The Public Theater). Mr. Tripp provided additional choreography on productions of In the Heights, 9 to 5, The Wiz, Bring It On, and “Smash.” As a performer, he appeared on Broadway in Hamilton, Motown The Musical, and the original cast of the Tony Award–winning In the Heights, and Off Broadway in In the Heights (Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Ensemble Performance). His television and film credits include In the Heights, “The Tony Awards,” “Smash.” His other theatre credits include the world premiere of Stagger Lee (Dallas Theater Center), Aida (national tour), Radio City Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes, plus work with Mark Stuart Dance Theatre. He has taught master classes and set choreography for various dance studios across the world, including the prestigious New York University theatre department. As a teacher, he has over 20 years of experience and is currently on faculty at Broadway Dance Center in New York.


Publicity Photos

James Vásquez
James Vásquez. Photo by Daren Scott.
Rickey Tripp
Rickey Tripp.
Artwork courtesy of The Old Globe.