The U.S. is officially in a ‘total eclipse’ craze today as photographers jump in cars and on planes to get to the best viewing spots, and families head out for end of summer road trips to Oregon and South Carolina to view the first total solar eclipse to cross the U.S. since the summer of 1963! The stores have sold out their special viewing glasses, the websites that have popped up all over the place are gearing up for live feeds tomorrow, and people that forgot to plan ahead for the ‘show’ are in their garages, frantically trying to remember their science projects from their childhood as they tape together cereal-box and foil viewers! [My household will be watching the view from our computer feeds from NASA and depending on the professional photographers for their historic images.]
To commemorate this rare event, I dedicate today’s Sunday Showstopper Snippet to the moon and the sun! SO MANY moon and/or sun songs have been penned over the years for big Broadway mega (and not so mega) shows – “Sun and Moon” (Miss Saigon), “Old Devil Moon” (Finian’s Rainbow), “The Man In the Moon [is a Miss!]” (Mame), “The Moon and Me” (Addams Family), “There Will Be Sun” (Groundhog Day); not to mention non-Broadway pop songs “Fly Me to the Moon,” “Moon Over Miami,” “Bad Moon Rising,” “Moon Shadow,” “Moon River,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Good Day Sunshine,” “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” – I could go on, and on, and ON. But, one song comes to mind that was BOTH a Broadway mega-hit AND a Billboard #1 …
In 1968 “HAIR” premiered as the inaugural production at New York’s Public Theatre (the same theatre that premiered “A Chorus Line” and “Hamilton”). With themes that included free love, pacifism, environmentalism, astrology, and racial integration, Hair gave “theatergoers a full-frontal glimpse of the burgeoning 60s-counterculture esthetic,” and would change the level of risk taken on a Broadway stage forever. It’s controversial themes were met with legal challenges and violent protests by some, and embraced as a powerful demonstration of love, peace and reality by others. The original production was honored with Tony nominations and a Grammy Award for its score; the 2009 revival won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical.
This 2nd act medley transitioned to pop fame when it jumped off of the Broadway stage to the radio in a recording by American R&B group, The 5th Dimension in 1969. The recording spent 6 weeks as the #1 song in the country, and at least 6 months as the #1 record on my record player (yes, my mother was ready to throw it, my record player, me and my bell-bottom pink & orange pants out the window by the end of that summer!). Sit back and enjoy the 2009 revival cast performance from HAIR, and, as a special bonus, the pop version by The Fifth Dimension.