The "year" is 1968. The "place" is a park in Greenwich Village, NYC. Claude is seated alone on center stage. An altar and a flame are set before him. The Tribe slowly congregates on stage. Berger and Sheila join Claude, cut a lock of his hair, and put it in the fire as the Tribe opens the show with "Aquarius."
Berger introduces himself, and sings about "Donna," his lost love. The Tribe follows this number with "Hashish," while Woof pays homage to all things sexual with "Sodomy." Hud enters, hanging upside down from a pole, and sings "Colored Spade."
Finally, Claude introduces himself ("Manchester, England") and says, "I'm Aquarius--destined for greatness or madness." The Tribe follows with "I'm Black" and "Ain't Got No." They add to the list of their "can't do's" with "Dead End."
Sheila, the politically active NYU student, is carried in to a fanfare while she sings, "I Believe in Love." She leads the Tribe in a peace rally ("Ain't Got No Grass," "Air"). Jeanie, who sings "Air" with friends Dionne and Crissy, reveals that she's pregnant (by some "speed freak") but she's in love with Claude. The Tribe sings "Initials." Berger then announces, "This, folks, is the psychedelic Stone Age."
Claude is confronted by three sets of "parents" (played by the Tribe) who batter him with their Work Ethic, American Values, and tell him his Vietnam draft notice has come in the mail. A conflict between "1968 and 1948" ensues ("I Got Life," "Ain't Got No," reprise).
Later, Berger tells the Tribe about Claude having to go before the draft board. Berger has also just been expelled from high school ("Goin' Down") and is attacked by three Hitler-esque "principals."
Claude returns, having passed his Army physical. Berger, Woof, and Hud try to develop ideas for freeing him from service in Vietnam. Claude burns his draft card, but the Tribe discovers that in fact it's his library card. A woman and her husband (tourists in a land of hippies) talk to the group. Claude, Berger, and the rest of the Tribe sing "Hair" for them. The woman, impressed, responds with "My Conviction," and then reveals that she is not a "she" at all, but a transvestite!
Sheila joins the group, and she's still "spreading the groovy revolution." She talks about how she lives with Claude and Berger, and takes out a yellow satin shirt she's brought for Berger. Berger begins to fool around--"slapping" her, stomping on the shirt, and yelling. Claude and Sheila try to quiet him by covering his head with the shirt when Berger snatches it away from them and rips it. Sheila, upset by this, sings "Easy to Be Hard." Berger takes the shirt and leaves to sew it back together. Claude and Sheila talk, and he gets her to admit that she's "hung up" on Berger.
Berger and Woof then give their musical salute to the American flag ("Don't Put it Down").
It's time for the Be-In! "Tourists . . . come to the orgy!" Jeanie tries to get together with Claude, but he rebuffs her. She is about to follow him to the Be-In when she spies Crissy. Crissy says that she's staying there, to wait for "Frank Mills." Back at the Be-In, the Tribe is singing "Hare Krishna" and getting high on love, life, and pot. Claude, about to burn his draft card, suddenly changes his mind ("Where Do I Go").
The police intervene and "arrest" the audience--signaling intermission.
Crissy tries to listen to a song on a Victrola, but it is drowned out by the "Electric Blues." The Tribe calls for "Oh Great God of Power," but all they get is Claude dressed up in a gorilla suit. He's just come from the induction center, and Berger and some Tribe members describe their version of the encounter.
Three of the women in the Tribe sing the virtues of "Black Boys," and are countered by three blond-wigged Supreme-lookalikes with "White Boys" (see photo). Berger really starts things rolling by passing out the joints, and soon the Tribe is "Walking in Space."
The action then focuses in on Claude's trip. General Washington appears, at war with a group of Indians. They are joined by Abraham Lincoln ("Abie, Baby"), John Wilkes Booth, Ulysses S. Grant, Calvin Coolidge, and Scarlett O'Hara. Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns appear, and an all-out war ensues. This segues into "3-5-0-0," and the ugliness of war against the Viet Cong. The Tribe invokes the words of Shakespeare ("What a Piece of Work is Man") to try and rationalize this. Then, the trip ends ("How Dare They Try"), and the Tribe tries to call Claude back to reality, however he has some problems getting back into the present day.
The Tribe divides into groups to sleep under the light of the moon, and Sheila sings, "Good Morning, Starshine." A mattress is brought out "The Bed" and the Tribe celebrates it (after all, "Never can you sin in bed"). They separate from Claude, and gather in a mass of Flower Power, banging sticks and pots and shouting anti-war chants. They call for Claude, but he's nowhere to be found.
Claude appears in Army uniform, unseen by his friends, and explains, "I'm right here. Like it or not, they got me." ("The Flesh Failures"). Still unable to see him, the Tribe sings "Eyes, Look Your Last" in counterpoint with Claude's final "Manchester, England." Sheila reprises "The Flesh Failures," leading the Tribe into "Let the Sun Shine In." At the close, Claude is again lying alone center stage. With his sticks, Berger forms a cross and lays it on Claude's body.
This HAIR synopsis was featured in Cyberbil's article about HAIR in Chicago.
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