It was Gavin Creel's last night in HAIR tonight which itself ends on Saturday so O and I made a point of booking for both.
It was bound to be a highly emotional night and on Gavin's first appearance he received a huge ovation which should have let him know he was among friends on both sides of the footlights. In the first of his 'big' songs I GOT LIFE he totally went for it, showing the kinetic energy that has energised the show.
At the song's end which finds him sitting in the middle of the stage surrounded by the tribe in a line-up widely arcing behind his back, the audience's thunderous ovation was echoed by his cast mates who advanced clapping him for a few minutes before the delayed light cue brought us back to 1967.There was a definite feeling of end-of-term with plenty of ad-libs and invented business, particularly cast member Kevin Kern who as the school principal started effing 'n' jeffing to beat the band to gasps of delight from cast and punter alike and later as Hubert when, accompanying Andrew Kober's scene-stealing turn as Margaret Mead, he shouted out "why the hell don't you get star billing" which again set the cast into a fit of church giggles. We also had extra participants in the DON'T PUT IT DOWN hoedown when Gavin, Caissie Levy and Darius Nichols joined the line dance.
Needless to say the title song was slammed across the footlights with most of the lads following Gavin's lead in pulling his shirt off at the start! Again another massive ovation when they ended the musical coda.Oh and need I say that Allison Case again made me cry... buckets... with her lovely rendition of "Frank Mills".
Then for the big one... I had wondered during the show how Gavin might approach the first act closer WHERE DO I GO? Within a few lines however, the emotions took him over and without missing a beat the tribe members took up the song and sang softly until he was able to gather himself but by the end again he was too choked to sing.
The second act seem to speed through on fast-forward and there we were with Claude in his army uniform, invisible to his former friends, and again he just made it through "Eyes Look Your Last" before he went again. The rousing, ferocious a capella "Let The Sunshine In" faded away as we watched the snow gently falling on Claude's dead body, only this time it was a heightened sadness for the previously-mentioned reason. The bows took place amid raucous cheers and clapping and Gavin appeared for his final bow. Trust us to be stuck in the slow-moving queue for the stage-dancing, they stopped letting people on just as we got within gobbing distance of the stairs but we got a smile and a wave from Kacie Sheik and had a good view for when Caissie gave a very touching and heartfelt speech to Gavin from the whole company and there was a final rousing version of LET THE SUNSHINE IN as he was lifted shoulder-high... oh and the shirt came off again, captured here by HAIR fan Chasity Neutze.Apart from the GRRRRRRRRRness of not getting on stage, it was a night to remember.