NBC has set Diane Paulus and Alex Rudzinski as the directors for Hair Live!, its live musical production that set for May 19. She was nominated for a Tony for helming the show’s 2009 Broadway revival, and he scooped an Emmy nom for directing this year’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.
The network also said today that the show will air on Sunday, May 19, playing out before a live audience.
“We have the dream team to bring Hair Live! vividly to life and create another unforgettable night of live television,” said Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment. “I was at the electrifying opening night of Diane Paulus’ Tony-winning revival of Hair 10 years ago and was blown away by how relevant and utterly joyous this show became in her hands. She is one of the most successful directors working in the theatre today, and we’re thrilled she will be collaborating with Alex Rudzinski, the most daring director working in live musical television.”
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who have executive produced all of NBC’s live musicals since The Sound of Music Live! in 2013, will executive produce the telecast. Rudzinski will also executive produce.
Casting is TBA for Hair Live!, which is proiduced by Universal Television, MGM Television, and Zadan/Meron Productions. It tells the story of peace, love and hope, through a group of politically active hippies living a bohemian life in New York while fighting against and resisting the Vietnam War. Claude, his good friends Berger and Sheila, and their “tribe” are coming of age in the world of the sexual revolution while struggling with their rebellion against the war and their conservative parents and society. Claude must decide whether to resist the draft as his friends have done, or succumb to the pressures of conservative America to serve in Vietnam, compromising his principles and beliefs.
Many of the original shows songs became hit pop singles and radio staples including the Fifth Dimension’s medley of “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” the Cowsills’ “Hair,” Three Dog Night’s “Easy to Be Hard” and Oliver’s “Good Morning Starshire.” All hit the national Top 5.
Paulus’ other credits include The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Pippin and Sara Bareilles’ Waitress. Her world premiere production of Jagged Little Pill, inspired by Alanis Morissette’s smash 1995 album, recently completed a record run Harvard’s American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, where she is the Terrie and Bradley Bloom Artistic Director, and she was named to Time magazine’s 2014 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Along with serving as live television director and executive producer of NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert, Rudzinski also serves as director and executive producer of the Peacock’s dance competition series World of Dance. He was nominated for a DGA Award for his live television direction of Hairspray Live! and has won two Emmys, including Outstanding Direction for a Variety Special for his work on Fox’s musical Grease Live! He also has directed 22 seasons of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, among other projects.