Musical a showcase of 1960s life

JESS Barlow sees a lot of similarities between herself and her character in the musical Hair the Summer of Love.

“We’re both extremely outgoing and can be quite in your face. I’m not a shy person in any way and I’m very confident, so there are definite similarities between us,” she said.

The former Ballarat Arts Academy graduate will play the lead role of Sheila in next week’s production, to be staged at Her Majesty’s Theatre for one night only.

Based on the Tony Award-winning 2009 Broadway revival, the show pays homage to life in the 1960s and the battles faced by America’s youth when being confronted with conscription to the Vietnam War, exposure to the era of free love and the experimentation of illicit drugs.

Staged in full, the musical features the famous scene where all cast members remove their clothes in a nude protest against the Vietnam War’s conscription regulations of 1968 America.

Ms Barlow said she felt comfortable performing the nude scene because it was staged very tastefully.

“If you know the show and why they do it and the context of the scene, it’s not actually a big deal,” she said.

“It’s not sexual in any way and as an audience member you should be moved by what’s happening. It’s done very tastefully.

“Hair is unique in that it’s got a very clear message to be told. A lot of musicals speak to people but not in the way Hair does.”

Entertainment, page 24