Hearne: A Kauffman Center Unleashes a First—Full Nudity

SMALL_HAIR_CASTIt’s not like nobody’s ever disrobed in the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

They just never did it in full view of the audience. That was remedied last night- on February 5, 2013 – when just before intermission the entire cast of the musical Hair bared it all in the opening night’s performance.

Make no mistake, this was no smoke and mirrors Full Monty affair. The stage lights were up and the “goods” were on the table for all to see. All the goods.

But was it really a first?

“Probably,” says Theater League main man Mark Edelman. “The opera and the ballet probably haven’t had any nudity.”



Kauffman Center president Jane Chu confirmed that ‘Hair’ was a no-holds-barred, full frontal nudity first for the PAC.

So did the Theater League have to get permission? You know, check with vice or something.

“No, it’s a work of art,” Edelman explains. “I didn’t check.”

It was also a first for Edelman and the Theater League.

“Yeah, because I never presented ‘Hair’ before,” he says. “Or ‘Oh Calcutta’ or ‘Let My People Come.’ ”

Raising the question of whether an audience advisory was issued?

“Yes, a lot of warnings,” Edelman stresses. “On our website, on our brochures and in all the ads. We wanted people to know. Although it is ‘Hair’ and it’s famous for its nudity.”

“The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” debuted at a small theater in New York in 1967, before migrating in 1968 to Broadway.

“This was the musical that brought the sounds of rock and roll to Broadway,” Edelman says.

And while true rock believers of the harder-edged variety may find the “rock” element pretty dialed back – “Aquarius“, for example – technically it’s what passed for AM radio pop rock in the 1960s.

Even “Easy to be Hard?”

“It’s a rock ballad,” Edelman says. “Just like ‘Wild Horses‘ or ‘As Tears Go By.’ ”

Edelman’s most hair-raising “Hair” story?

“Well, there’s a great story about when this thing first started and it was off Broadway and a guy named Michael Butler, who was an heir to the McDonald’s fortune I think, found the show and brought it to Broadway. He had it going into a theater where ‘My Fair Lady‘ had just been and there was a controversy about how much money they made. You know, it’s a cash business and it’s impossible to tell. And the accountant for the show committed suicide.”

There you have it. Be a part of KC pop culture history as ‘Hair’ continues now through Sunday at the Kauffman Center.



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15 Responses to Hearne: A Kauffman Center Unleashes a First—Full Nudity

  1. smartman says:

    Full frontal nudity and Easy To Be Hard! Nice editorial double entendre!

    So do they all have “Hair” down there as an homage to the original or are there any smoothie’s in the lineup?

    What about menstruating women. Are accomodations made in wardrobe for feminine hygiene products?

    • harley says:

      there sure are smarmyman…
      you showed your real colors last week smarmyman…yellow bellied chicken…
      a no show chicken pu$$!!!!
      as for feminine products…they did a piece for you…since you’re
      a douche bag…a big d**khead…
      they made accommodations for you in wardrobe smarmyman..
      everyone wore medical gloves to keep the disease infested
      germs you carry with you from those hot tubs.
      figur esyou’d mention all that stuff …because you’re one
      disgusting dong face.
      And besides…who’d want to sit next to you in a theatre…or even
      an arena with the scum you are covered with.
      go back to the barn you grew up in..
      glaze proved you to be a real big nothing!!!!!!! all talk and no
      nothing…just another old loser…

  2. KCMonarch says:

    I too am curious if Hair was period appropriate or trimmed to modern standards.

    • admin says:

      I was a little too far back to say for certain, but the, uh, swinging dicks were out in force – hiding in plain site.

  3. Mark E says:

    No trimming that I could tell. Author Jim Rado is still alive; I doubt he’d let anything be cut. Same director who did the 2009 Broadway production that won Best Revival Tony Award. The best part– it’s a young cast (as it should be). Some of the Broadway cast seemed a bit old to be playing high school and college kids.

  4. Orphan of the Road says:

    I know a guy who was invited to the original’s cast party when it debuted in KC. They told him he needed to shed his clothes as all the cast members were still nude. So he did.

    He is coming to this one too. The Eggman will not shed clothing this time. For which the world is thankful.

    • Dean Hughson says:

      well, I don’t intend to strip for this event, even if asked to like in the 1970 version at the cast party but I still have my hair. I am going this Saturday and intend to sing along and channel my inner hippy trapped in this 61 year old body that was at the earlier show. I will remember all of our fellow hippies who used to be at Volker Park who are now dead. Like John Belushi famously said I outlived them all. and still have my hair

  5. Super Dave says:

    Well all you young whippersnappers at last got to see in KC what people in my age generation along with myself saw here in KC 40 years ago. Guess what, was the first time back then as well at the Capri Theatre which was later known as the Lyric Theatre. So not a new news story, just a rerun of a past event that people got to see first in Kansas City a long time ago. I think it was February of 1971 maybe January I don’t remember for sure but close to that. I have more or less got rid of all my hippy stuff many, many years ago. But anyway was a great show back then when it was more or less still new and all these years later I am sure it is still good entertainment. But have to remember back in the early 70’s seeing that much wool on stage all at the same time was well unheard of. In fact many cities banned it and if memory serves me right KC Star had a fit over it.

    I am sure Jack might be able to help out some on the show when it was in KC years ago.

    • Orphan of the Road says:

      My friend is coming down from his egg-citing Omaha job before he relocates to the Netherlands. He’ll be in his tye-dyes in the handicaped section on Sat.

      Looking at him now, you wouldn’t think he could out run KBG agents in the Moscow subway while helping Jews get out.

      The Eggman, Monarch Eggs, back in the day.

      harley probably know him if he has ANY connection to Northeast. Period.

    • Dean Hughson says:

      Indeed it was at the Capri…..I remember that one of the Tribe’s grandmothers from Kansas was there……the after cast party was at the Phillips I think…the newspaper had said the police were going to arrest the cast but they didn’t because they used a parachute to hide their nudity.

  6. balbonis moleskine says:

    Nixon in China is coming up soon and is about the first opera I’ve ever wanted to see, ever.

    I bet you can really see the high notes in the testicles to borrow a line from Jack Handy.

  7. That counter culture kitsch was sad and boring then, and even more so now as a retread.

  8. admin says:

    I’ve got to tell you, for me it was a snooze. The music, the plot line, the dialogue.
    This is a show for people of a certain age who either missed it back in the day or want to relive those long ago memories.

    And maybe for their kids and others who are curious to catch a peek at the way their parents were so they can make fun of them.

    All I really know is that the revival did boffo box office on Broadway.

  9. Mark says:

    And at the Liitle K.

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