Asolo Rep Announces Full Casting for HAIR
(SARASOTA, FLA) — Asolo Repertory Theatre proudly kicks off its 2021-2022 season with the thrilling rock musical that started it all – HAIR. With a Grammy® Award-winning score by Gerome Ragni (book/lyrics), James Rado (book/lyrics) and Galt MacDermot (music), HAIR marks Asolo Rep’s highly anticipated and triumphant return to the indoor stage. HAIR begins previews on Nov. 18, 2021, opens on Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 1, 2022, in the Mertz Theatre, located in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts.
HAIR is a joyous rebellion that proudly reclaims love as the heart of what it means to be American. Packed with music that is beautiful, irreverent and deeply evocative, the quirky, all-inclusive vibe doesn’t shy away from poignant social commentary. This iconic musical gets an exuberant and resonant retelling, while featuring unforgettable numbers like “The Flesh Failures (Let the Sunshine In),” “Aquarius,” “Good Morning Starshine,” and “Hair”!
HAIR is directed and choreographed by returning Asolo Rep favorite Josh Rhodes, whose Broadway choreography credits include Bright Star, It Shoulda Been You, First Date, and Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella. At Asolo Rep, Rhodes previously directed and choreographed Guys and Dolls in 2016, Evita in 2017 and The Sound of Music in 2019, among other popular runs. He will also choreograph the world premiere of Knoxville, created by Tony Award®-winners Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Frank Galati, at Asolo Rep in April.
“HAIR is the perfect piece to bring us back to the theatre after the pandemic kept us out for so long,” said Rhodes. “The piece shows us the monumental change that a generation brought to this country and reminds us that a new generation is currently ushering in another tidal wave of their own. This material expresses how vital that change is to our United States. I’m really curious for multiple generations to see this show together and then speak to one another about it.”
Rhodes is joined by Associate Choreographer Ishita Mili, who is making her Asolo Rep debut. After extensively training in bharatanatyam, hip hop, chhau and contemporary dance, Mili founded IMGE Dance to use her cultural roots to share global stories with artists of diverse backgrounds.
Every member of the HAIR cast is making their Asolo Rep mainstage debut. Damon Gillespie (Claude) appeared on Broadway in Newsies and Aladdin and on television in NBC’s Rise and Netflix’s Tiny Pretty Things. Kaleb Wells (Berger) appeared off-Broadway in Scotland, PA. His regional and tour credits include Jim Steinman’s Bat Out Of Hell, The Who’s Tommy and RENT.
Nora Schell (Hud) received Drama Desk, Drama League and Clive Barnes Award nominations for their off-Broadway debut in Spamilton and made their Broadway debut in Jagged Little Pill. Jonathan Fleites’ (Woof) recent credits include A Chorus Line, directed by original cast member Mitzi Hamilton, and the national tour of Birth of the Beat. Olivia Kaufmann (Sheila) made her Broadway debut in Mean Girls as the standby for the roles of Cady and Janis, and went on to take over the role of Janis.
The cast also includes Becca Andrews as Jeanie, Charnette Batey as Dionne and Aubrey Matalon as Crissy.
Rounding out the Pack are McKynleigh Alden Abraham, Daniel Ajak, Sophia Rose Byrd, Gordia Hayes, Abby Matsusaka, Ishita Mili, Dayna Lee Playa, Sangeetha Santhebennur, Ethan Saviet, Garrick Sigl, Derek Sikkema, Matthew Skrovan and Chad Takeda.
“Our team has assembled an extraordinarily talented cast, and I believe there’s going to be a level of performance intensity with this show that’s informed by how isolated we’ve all been,” said Asolo Rep Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “HAIR is the ideal show for that, giving the artists license to let out everything that has been pent up over the last 20 months. We’re coming back in a highly emotional and celebratory and exciting way. Our audience has the opportunity to be part of that recovery, and I don’t think people want to miss that.”
HAIR contains mature themes and language and brief nudity, and is recommended for age 16+.
HAIR runs Nov. 18, 2021 – Jan. 1, 2022. Previews are Nov. 18 – 19. Visit asolorep.org for a full performance schedule. Orchestra and Mezzanine seats start at $57 and Balcony seats start at $33. Tickets are available now in person at Asolo Rep's Box Office at 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, by phone at 941.351.8000 or 800.361.8388, or online at asolorep.org.
Asolo Rep is proud to be a part of #SafeArtsSarasota. Learn more about our Health and Safety Protocols.
Asolo Rep is able to present HAIR because of the generosity of its sponsors. The corporate sponsors for HAIR are Plumbing Today, Sarasota Herald Tribune, Sarasota Magazine, ABC 7, WUSF, and The Resort at Longboat Key Club, with additional support from the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.
Asolo Rep 2021-2022 Major Season Sponsors are Florida State University, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Huisking Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, Designing Women Boutique, The Exchange, Sunset Cadillac of Bradenton, and Asolo Rep’s Artistic Excellence Society. Asolo Rep’s artistic programs are paid for in part by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax revenues.
Entering its 63rd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season, including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.