NBC scraps plans for Hair Live!
“Live musicals are a part of this network’s DNA and we are committed to continuing that tradition with the right show at the right time,” said Co-Chairmen Paul Telegdy and George Cheeks in a joint statement (via Deadline). “Since these shows are such enormous undertakings, we need titles that have a wide appeal and we’re in the process of acquiring the rights to a couple of new shows that we’re really excited about.”
The Hair Live! broadcast was previously set for May 15, which would have put it in direct competition with the series finale of Game of Thrones. That episode, many years in the making and likely to be a ratings smash, and the low ratings of the recent Rent live, are what made the network reconsider the decision to air the musical. NBC likely also ran into issues with toning down the musical for a broadcast audiences, as it includes many things not typical of a Sunday night broadcast from the network like nudity and illicit drug use.
Fifty years ago Hair burst onto Broadway in the midst of the anti-Vietnam War movement and was groundbreaking in many ways. Since then, its integrated cast, message of protest and peace, and certified-platinum “rock” score have become iconic. With music by Galt MacDermot and book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, Hair has a string of hits that have been played all over the globe, including “(The Age of) Aquarius,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” Good Morning Starshine,” (all #1 hits in 1969), “Hair,” “Manchester, England,” “Frank Mills” and more.