André De Shields, Melba Moore, James Rado, Meshach Taylor, Treat Williams, Donna Summer and More Featured in VH1: HAIR-Behind the Music #158

In the late 60’s at the height of the Vietnam War, Civil Rights movement, and the Sexual Revolution, a brood of anti-establishment, avant-garde performers were creating a musical in Manhattan’s East village. What began as an eccentric, off-Broadway production became a cultural phenomenon and a worldwide success. In 1968, when “Hair: A Tribal Love Rock Musical” made it to Broadway it brought with it music that would not only tell a story but define a generation.

James Rado at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Narrated by Jim Forbes, this episode of the documentary television series on VH1, which originally aired on August 26, 2001, follows the story of HAIR- from its inception to its huge success – and the people that made it all happen, such as Michael Butler, James Rado, Galt MacDermot, Bertrand Castelli, Milos Forman, Treat Williams, André De Shields, Melba Moore, Diane Keaton, Donna Summer, Meshach Taylor, Walter O’Neil, Ralph Rieckermann and more.

Andre De Shields and Melba Moore at the Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

Tony, Emmy, Grammy winner and Hadestown star André De Shields made his professional acting debut in the 1969 Chicago production of HAIR.  

Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine
Chicago Tribe. Left to Right: Carol Ruth, Valerie Williams, Chuck McKinney, Stan Shaw, and André De Shields in Hair. Photo courtesy of Ebony Magazine

“I did HAIR as my first professional show, fresh of college,” said De Shields. My only thought was, ‘They’re going to pay me to take my clothes off?’ I could live like this for the rest of my life. I knew then that I was going to spend my life in the theater. Being a member of Hair meant you were immediately part of a global family.”

“Hair: Behind the Music #158” was executive produced by George Moll and Gay Rosenthal, with Paul Barrosse (Supervising Producer) and Michael Vasquez (Production Consultant) and written by co-creator Gay Rosenthal and Michael Vazquez.

André De Shields. Photo by Lia Chang

André De Shields is the triple-crown winner of the 2019 awards season, having won the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and Tony Awards for best featured actor in a musical for his critically acclaimed performance as Hermes in Hadestown. The Actors’ Equity Foundation followed suit with the Richard Seff Award, honoring veteran stage actors’ best supporting performances of the year. Mr. De Shields recently received the 2020 Grammy Award for Musical Theater Album for Hadestown, an honorary Doctor of Arts Degree from Boston Conservatory at Berklee, the 2019 Project1Voice Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2019 SAGE Joyce Warshow Lifetime Achievement Award, The York Theatre Company’s 2019 Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre, and was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame. He received the Key to the City of Baltimore from Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young in August, 2019. Prior to his Tony Award win, Mr. De Shields was best known for his show-stopping performances in four legendary Broadway productions: The WizAin’t Misbehavin’ (Emmy Award), Play On! (Tony Nomination), and The Full Monty (Tony Nomination). In a career spanning fifty-one years, he has distinguished himself as an unparalleled actor, director, and educator, receiving in 2018 the 8th Annual Off Broadway Alliance Legend Award, and the 33rd Annual Bob Harrington Life Achievement Bistro Award. Among his other accolades are the 2009 National Black Theatre Festival’s Living Legend Award and the 2007 Village Voice Obie Award for Sustained Excellence of Performance. De Shields can currently be seen on Netflix as the Algebra Tutor in “John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch” and on The CW as Chubby in “Katy Keene.” De Shields is a proud member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and SDC. andredeshields.com

Coffeehouse Chronicles Series celebration of the 50th Anniversary of HAIR: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical on January 21, 2017 at La MaMa in New York. Photo by Lia Chang

NYTimes: Why HAIR has endured

Coffeehouse Chronicles #139: André De Shields, Annie Golden, Dale Soules and More Set for LaMaMa’s 50th Anniversary of HAIR and James Rado’s 85th birthday on January 21

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2020 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at liachangpr@gmail.com

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