While it may not come as quite a surprise to fans of the original musical, NBC has decided to pull Hair as its next live musical adaption, despite being expected to air in May. NBC, which has delivered live musical productions such as Hairspray Live!, The Wiz Live! and The Sound of Music Live! seems to be citing both notoriety and censorship as reasons behind the decision.
Hot on the heels of Fox’s latest live musical, Rent, which faced backlash from long-time fans about dialogue and lyric changes, NBC’s decision to pull Hair makes sense – it simply would be too hard to pull off on network television. The fifty-year-old rock musical tells “the story of peace, love and hope, through a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York while fighting against and resisting the Vietnam War.” It follows a character named Claude and his group of friends including Sheila and Berger who form a “tribe” in order to rebel against the government, the Vietnam War, and sexual repression.
The creative team surrounding Hair Live! was quite impressive as well with musical powerhouses Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski having been brought on to direct. Paulus received a Tony award in 2009 for directing the Broadway revival of the show and Rudzinski is fresh off Jesus Christ Superstar Live! which went on to be nominated for 13 Emmy Awards.
The network is still searching for their next project, but perhaps Jennifer Lopez’s Bye Bye Birdie Live will make its triumphant comeback.