Breakthrough Theater of Winter Park
Book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni & James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed by Wade Hair
Musical Direction by Angela Cotto
Starring Shay Bradford, John Corby, and Melissia Jane Peterson
I can tell these kids aren’t real hippies; there’s absolutely NO body odor. How do I know? Half the cast set in my lap during the preshow. It’s an intimate play in a VERY intimate room, and I would say most of the audience is old enough to lie that they got stoned at the real Woodstock. And most of the cast was barely old enough drink tonight, never mind trying the tasting menu of psychedelics acted out on stage. The plot is rather thin, but works well enough to hang the songs on:, In the 1967 summer of love, the middle-class teens from New Jersey and Connecticut move to Central Park to play “flower children.” No jobs, no cash, but steady access to great weed fuels them to protest the war in Vietnam and the other laundry list of social problems that never seem to leave us.
We meet Berger, (Corby) the bad boy leader of the scene. He sheds his Levi’s early in the show and repeatedly threatens the front row with his hairy butt. His best bud Claude (Bradford) received some bad news: he’s been called up for the draft, and debates going in vs. burning is draft card. When Burger slips him something that might be LSD, he hallucinates the best party of the show, the oddly named “Three Five Zero Zero.” George Washington leads an attack on the Indians assisted by Abe Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, Calvin Coolidge, Clark Gable, Scarlett O’Hara, Aretha Franklin, and Colonel George Custer. Then it gets weird. Claude makes his fateful decision, and we end up with an oddly poignant ending.
Along the way there’s plenty of good music, lively dance, and a full frontal nude scene at intermission. The hits you know include “Hair” (lead by Claude and Berger) and “Colored Spade” lead by Hud (Corey Adams). Another goodie is the pairing of “Black Boys” (Edibel Perez, Katie Masterson, and Tallia Casey) with “White Boys” (Iris M. Johnson, Niashia Aviles, and Tayanna Cheyenne). Woof (Brandon Bennett) gives us a sexy dance number with his Mic Jagger poster; that’s the highlight of the thinly veiled homosexual undertone of the story. Adult supervision comes from Kelley Elisabeth Fagan and Mark David; this may be Mr. David’s best drag work ever. The cast does an excellent job of capturing the energy of a fifty-year-old issues musical, and it leads us to a truly moving end. War is hell, war ain’t going away, but you can still stand up and chant at it. Let it know we’re all out here.