UCO Lets the Hair [Musical] Shine In

The University of Central Oklahoma’s latest musical Hair, performed by the University of Central Oklahoma’s Musical Theatre Division and co-produced by the Oklahoma City Repertory, will take place Feb. 6-10 at Mitchell Hall Theatre.

“With the show set in 1968, we have had to do a lot more dramaturgy work to get the students to understand every little detail of what this show is about,” said director Steven Smeltzer.

A product of the hippie counterculture and sexual revolution of the late 1960s, several of the production’s songs have to do with the Vietnam War and the history and hardships behind it.

“I’m excited to be a part of this show because it is historically accurate,” said Tristin Hill, a senior in the production. “The show is so relevant still in 2019.”

Dealing with racism, drug use and war, Smeltzer said he agrees that the history in the show can still be seen as relevant today. He also said the show is truthful to the original, with nothing being changed or altered.

Donald Jordan, Oklahoma City Repertory artistic director, sent out a warning for those attending to have a sense of what they would see.

“Warning: the CityRep [and] UCO co-production will include groovy hippies singing, cursing, smoking pot, dancing, getting naked, mocking societal conventions, meditating, taking LSD, flaunting their sexuality, celebrating their race, promoting peace, justice, equality and creating happening,” the warning reads.

The Oklahoma City Repertory, better known as CityRep, is a nonprofit local theater founded by Donald Jordan and his colleagues who attended Oklahoma City University to study theater. This co-production of Hair marks the 10th anniversary of the partnership between CityRep and UCO Musical Theatre.

“We try to pair up with CityRep every so many years, so our students have that particular experience working with a professional company,” said Greg White, UCO Musical Theatre director.

This partnership gives UCO students in the Musical Theater department a chance to score points on their equity card. With five weeks of rehearsals and one week of performance, students performing have a chance to receive five equity points on their card.

“It looks really good on your resume because it shows you are able to work in a professional setting,” Hill said.

After one have received 25 points, one can apply to be apart of the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA), an American labor union representing the world of live theater performances. These cards help negotiate wages, improve working conditions and provide a wide range of benefits, including health and pension plans.

Hill, who is the dance captain of production, said the equity points are the main reason why he decided to be a part of the production. He said this was a great opportunity to get points on his card before graduating in May.

Working with CityRep has also brought back UCO alumni JaLeesa Beavers for the production.

Beavers said this is her third time to work with CityRep and is happy to be back, describing the faculty at UCO and the team as CityRep as a family.

Graduating five years ago, Beavers has been working and living in New York for the last three and a half years.

Beavers said graduating from UCO helped prepared her as much as she could’ve been.

“When you’re in college, it’s a bubble, and people tell you all these things and what they say isn’t wrong, but still there is nothing that can prepare you for the real world and New York, a beast of a different color,” Beaver said.

Hair will be showing at Mitchell Hall from Feb. 6-8 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 9-10 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on CityRep’s website, through the College of Fine Arts and Design Website or at the Mitchell Hall box office.

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