Courtney Rice

What a ‘Peace’ of Work: A Cultural Commentary on America’s Tribal Love-Rock Musical

Courtney Rice – Research in NYC Summer 2011


Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical is a singular show, worthy of study, because of the many innovations and techniques it introduced to Broadway. Hair is significant in the fact that it represents the zeitgeist of a group of young people in late 1960s America. Since its premiere in 1967, Hair has enjoyed both success and failure in its tenure as a Broadway musical. It has come to exemplify the zeitgeist of America in the late 1960s, as demonstrated by its ability to continue to connect with audiences throughout the years. Hair’s cultural significance lies in its ability to provide a unique insight into the ‘Hippie life’ of the 1960s, as well as its impact on the Broadway musical.

“With the money I received from the Robertson Fund, I was able to travel to New York City to research my senior thesis at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.  My thesis focuses on the musical Hair and how it has come to represent the spirit of America in the 1960s, as well as its influence on the modern Broadway musical.  Most of my time was spent in the Special Collections section of the library looking through the papers of the creators of Hair, along with theatrical reviews, and publicity materials.  I was also able to see Hair at the St. James Theatre on Broadway! The show was back on Broadway for a limited eight week run during its national tour.  After the show, I went backstage and interviewed the lead actor playing Claude, Paris Remillard, about Hair‘s legacy and his experience in the show.  My time in New York was definitely an experience I will never forget and I would not have been able to do any of it had it not been for this fund.”

—Courtney Rice

The musical Hair in Summer 2011