The University of UtahRedthread Home

Professor Alex Gelman Returns to the U to Direct Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical


The University of Utah’s Department of Theatre is ecstatic to present Hair: The American Tribal Love Rock Musical November 11-20 in the Babcock Theatre. This seminal musical of the 1960′s is a celebration of life, a love letter to freedom, and a passionate cry for hope and change. The first great rock musical, Hair has some of the most rousing and soulful songs ever written for the stage including “Let the Sunshine In,” “Good Morning Starshine,” “Aquarius,” and the infectious title song, “Hair.” (See also “The Original, and Hirsute, Rock Opera” in the Salt Lake Tribune’s Stage Notes on Nov. 5)

Directing the production is Alex Gelman, former Head of the U Department of Theatre’s M.F.A. Directing program. Gelman is a Russian-born and American-trained director. He is enormously accomplished, having helmed productions at some of the most esteemed theatres in the nation including American Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Chicago Lyric Opera, Hartford Stage Company, New York Shakespeare Festival, and The Juilliard School of Drama. He also directs internationally, most recently for the Canterbury Opera in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Gelman left the U to be the Director of the School of Theatre and Dance at Northern Illinois University and Producing Artistic Director of Chicago’s Organic Theater Company. When asked to return to the U to direct Hair, Gelman jumped at the chance. “I have such fond memories of my time here, and really good friends. And, of course, it was a chance to tackle Hair,” he says.

Hair has been called “more relevant than ever” by the New York Times. Its themes are universal, and resonate with a new generation of young people who, today, are faced with many of the same feelings of frustration, turmoil and upheaval experienced by youth of the 60′s.

Says Gelman of the production, “We’re not eager to make a political statement, but I certainly think the piece is timely and modern. The country is in a raw and passionate place, not unlike 1968. Our focus is young people–who they are and what they are so ardently fighting for.”

Babcock Theatre is on the lower level of the Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located at 300 South and University Street (1400 East). Free public parking is available in the lot directly south of the building. Tickets for Hair can be obtained now by calling 801-581-7100, online at, or at the Performing Arts Box Office, located at Kingsbury Hall.