Drenched in purple hazes of lighting by Kevin Adams and beautifully dressed by designer Michael McDonald in a ragtag profusion of colors, prints and funky styles, the ensemble is a wildly enthusiastic crew who sing their songs with gusto.
Most prominent among the leading players, a hunky Steel Burkhardt recklessly streaks around as the Dionysian figure of Berger whose confident ways contrast against the indecisive Claude played wistfully by Paris Remillard. Caren Lyn Tackett is the fiery activist Sheila, Phyre Hawkins displays a radiant voice on numbers like “Aquarius” and “White Boys” and Kacie Sheik often is touching as the lovelorn Jeanie.
Paulus’ dynamic staging of the songs and scenes succeeds in fostering a spontaneous atmosphere that encapsulates the anti-establishment aura of the musical’s far-off and far-out times. While the show itself ends poignantly on a tragic note, a post-bows dance party that brings viewers onstage to rock out to a mega-mix medley sends everybody home on a positive high.
“Hair” continues through Sept. 10 at the St. James Theatre, 246 W. 44th St., New York. Call (212) 239-6200 or visit www.hairbroadway.com.