“Hair” Comes to the Upstate

Controversial Broadway Production Shows in Spartanburg

“Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical” was a production about hippie culture and sexual liberation that caused quite a stir when it premiered in 1968 on Broadway. It was performed in Spartanburg in 1971.

“Hair” was a musical written by Gerome Ragni and James Rado with music by Galt MacDermot which premiered off Broadway in 1967, and the next year performed on Broadway. The musical has been called the first rock-musical on Broadway, and was surrounded by controversy since its first showing due to its hippie style, including the use of profanity, resistance to the Vietnam War, disrespect of the American flag, and nudity. Curiously, at the end of the performance, the audience was invited onstage for a “Be-In.”

After a period on Broadway, the show was produced around the country and internationally. In November of 1971, it was performed in Spartanburg, SC at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and the performances were advertised in The Tiger, Clemson’s campus newspaper. Despite the controversy, the production was wildly successful.