NBC announces May 2019 air date for 'Hair Live!', to be directed by Alex Rudzinski & Diane Paulus

NBC's live TV adaptation of 'Hair' coincides with the 50th anniversary of the hit Broadway musical. The performance will air on Sunday, May 19, 2019 in front of a live audience.


                            NBC announces May 2019 air date for 'Hair Live!', to be directed by Alex Rudzinski & Diane Paulus

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 peace and love, and certified-platinum rock-centric score have become iconic. 

To celebrate the rock-musical's 50th anniversary, NBC has announced that it will be bringing the musical production 'Hair Live!' to screens on May 19, 2019. Alex Rudzinski, who has previously helmed NBC’s live versions of 'Hairspray' and 'Jesus Christ Superstar' (and won an Emmy for his work on Fox’s 'Grease: Live'), is on board to co-direct 'Hair Live!'. He will work alongside Diane Paulus, who directed the Tony-winning Broadway revival of the musical in 2009.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have produced each of NBC’s live musicals since 'The Sound of Music Live!,' will executive produce the telecast, along with Rudzinski.

“We have the dream team to bring ‘Hair Live!’ vividly to life and create another unforgettable night of live television,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment, in a press release.

"I was at the electrifying opening night of Diane Paulus’ Tony-winning revival of ‘Hair’ 10 years ago and was blown away by how relevant and utterly joyous this show became in her hands. She is one of the most successful directors working in the theatre today and we’re thrilled she will be collaborating with Alex Rudzinski, the most daring director working in live musical television. This show also has one of the great scores of all time with songs that climbed the charts 50 years ago and have since become iconic hits in our pop culture.”

The cast of 'Hair' poses for a photo during the 'Hair' 300 performances celebration at the St. James Theatre on August 29, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
The cast of 'Hair' poses for a photo during the 'Hair' 300 performances celebration at the St. James Theatre on August 29, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)

Casting for 'Hair Live!' -- which is produced by Universal Television, MGM Television, and Zadan/Meron Productions -- is yet to be announced.

The 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. Claude, his good friends Berger and Sheila, and their “tribe” are coming of age in the world of the sexual revolution while struggling with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or succumb to the pressures of conservative America to serve in Vietnam, compromising his principles and beliefs.

Half a century ago, after an off-Broadway debut on Oct. 17, 1967, as the inaugural production of Joseph Papp's now-legendary Public Theater, 'Hair' opened on Broadway in April 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances. It quickly became not just a smash-hit show, but a genuine cultural phenomenon that spawned a monster cast album and a #1 song on the pop charts for the Fifth Dimension.

 Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski will direct 'Hair Live!', set for a broadcast in front of a live audience on May 13, 2019. (Image Credits: Getty Images)
 Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski will direct 'Hair Live!', set for a broadcast in front of a live audience on May 13, 2019. (Getty Images)

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. Many of the original show's songs became hit pop singles and radio staples including the Fifth Dimension’s medley of 'Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,' the Cowsills’ 'Hair,' Three Dog Night’s 'Easy to Be Hard' and Oliver’s 'Good Morning Starshire,' all of which hit the national Top 5 in 1969.

NBC’s most recent live musical, 'Jesus Christ Superstar', nabbed 13 Emmy nominations earlier this month, including nods for Outstanding Variety Special (Live) and recognition for stars John Legend, Sara Bareilles and Brandon Victor Dixon. So it'll surely be exciting to see how 'Hair Live!' matches up against it. But judging by its mammoth cultural significance, it wouldn't be too farfetched to expect a few Emmy awards coming its way.