Here's some of my favorite bits of trivia about Hair:
- James Rado and Gerome Ragni were two actors who wrote the book and lyrics to the show; a friend introduced them to Galt MacDermot who wrote all the music in two weeks! The show was the first production at Joseph Papp's Public Theater, December 1967.
- After the initial run at the Public, the production looked for a Broadway house. In the meantime, it played in an unused discotheque.
- Casting was difficult; the producers wanted a group of people who would fit together in a "tribe" and individuals who could sing rock. From Wollman (p. 49): "A number of actors who appeared in Hair remember auditioning with rock songs, a practice that was unheard of on Broadway at the time.... Heather MacRae, who replaced original cast member Diane Keaton eight months into the run, is perhaps the first actor in history to audition for a Broadway show with Jefferson Airplane's 1967 hit 'White Rabbit.'"
- The arrangements and choreography were very collaborative. Actress Natalie Mosco (p. 51): "Galt would just let everyone sing. And we were basically allowed to make up our own -- and then if Galt liked what we made up, we kept it. Actors like Leata Galloway had five octaves. So Galt would tun around and say, 'Leata, can you give it one of your dog notes, one of your freak notes?' Or, 'Could you give me a wail, Melba [Moore]?' and that would be it. Throw something out and let people do it. Then he would give the rest of us, after we had experimented, a more solid foundation. In rehearsal, Steve [Gillette, the lead guitarist] would jam and we would all dance. And the choreographer would [pick out individual improvisations]. I had one that was my step, which was a kick thing. And we had another one which was somebody else's. And she would grab what we were doing individually and we would all do it as a group. Hair came out of free-form rock, theater, and dance."
And, now for your video consumption:
The original West Coast production from the Smother Brothers' Comedy Hour in 1968 (first national television broadcast of any of these songs):