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Former theatre chair is set to introduce ‘A “Hair”-Raising Performance’

The former Chair of the Department of Theatre, Dr. Mike Osborn is set to introduce 'A “Hair”-Raising Performance” in the University Center on Wednesday from 3-5pm. The documentary will detail the performance of the controversial Broadway musical “Hair” that was put on by the university nearly 50 years ago. 

In March of 1970, the first director of theatre at the UofM, then called Memphis State, Keith Kennedy, decided to be the first college in the nation to stage a production of the extremely controversial musical “Hair.”

The musical is about a group of politically active hippies who are celebrating in the shadow of the Vietnam War. The musical sparked controversy from the profanity that was used, treatment of sexuality, disrespect of the American flag, the depiction of the use of illegal drugs and nudity, which was ultimately left out of Memphis State’s performance. 

Craig Leake, a former professor in the Communication and Film department, filmed a documentary during the production of the musical. The documentary entitled, “When Hair Came to Memphis,” follows the evolution of the performance from the very beginning of the show announcement until the night of the performance. 

On Wednesday, Dr. Osborn’s program will recount the events leading up to the opening day of the musical, in the narrative of Leake’s documentary, “When Hair Came to Memphis.”

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