A Rare 20 Minute Video of the Boston Cast of HAIR 1970 Benefit Performance Filmed at Boston City Hospital on YouTube Why HAIR matters today as told by Paul Fitzgerald, a participant in the performance
As a freshman at Boston University in 1969, I realized that the school had me in the same old stifling mold of conservative-student-athlete that I’d known in high school and I needed something new. When I read that New York casting agents were auditioning for a Boston production of HAIR, I wandered down to the Wilbur theatre and signed up.
That same day, my faculty advisor strongly advised me against doing the audition. After asking, “How do you feel about the war in Vietnam?” he suggested I was cut out for far more serious things and probed whether I might not be interested in a career with some mysterious and unnamed government agency.
With the experience of my father’s recent death fresh in my mind I needed a stable career but unlike my advisor, I considered HAIR to be a very serious choice and went ahead with the audition. By the middle of January I was on stage in the lead role of Claude and had met the woman who would become my wife. Coming as it did, HAIR was a lifesaver. It showed me at the age of 19 that positive change was possible and I still believe it is.
Since performing the role of Claude in Boston in 1970, HAIR has been an inspiration in my work. My wife Liz Gould and I are planning a radical new approach to international problem-solving by staging a peace conference next October for the tribal people of Afghanistan in the land once described as the gate to Shambala: the Altai Republic of the Russian Federation.
The Altai Conference will provide the opportunity to bring a spiritual awakening to a troubled world at the most dangerous moment in our history while acknowledging the oneness of the tribal origins of our lives. In its time HAIR was an unexpected “out of the box” political and social awakening whose impact still reverberates around the world. We intend to bring the power of our HAIR experience to Altai and put it to work transforming today’s toxic international scene into “a movement to bring about positive change” to the world.
Altai can be an evolution of the HAIR awakening. It is embodied in this 1970 HAIR benefit performance I participated in that was filmed at Boston City Hospital. Most amazingly, this precious 20 minute video found its way to me in 1980. It renewed my belief in the power of the HAIR experience. We intend to find a way to bring that spirit and success to Altai.
Paul Fitzgerald, 2016
Claude in the 1970 Boston HAIR Production