The Art House lets its Hair down for its third birthday
WILL Hugh Sheridan and Paulini get naked in Hair?
It's certainly a less controversial question than the musical prompted 50 years ago, when it changed the face of theatre with its full-frontal nudity and anti-war messaging.
At that time the celebration of hippy culture was greeted with protests, bomb threats and talk of censorship.
But today, as it celebrates its third birthday, The Art House Wyong could probably not have asked for a more appropriate production to mark its own coming of age.
The production, tickets for which are now on sale, is at The Art House from September 19 as part of an exclusive six-venue national tour.
Central Coast audiences will see the show before it opens at the Sydney Opera House the following month.
"There will be a lot of people googling Wyong today to find out where it is and how we have such a big production," executive director Anne-Marie Heath said on launch day.
"It's very exciting to see where the theatre has come in three years.
"With world-class performers and some of Australia's finest creatives, it's going to be an amazing show worthy of any capital city in the country."
Bringing the best talent to the Coast venue has been Anne-Marie's aim from the outset, and she has worked hard to develop the strong industry relationships needed to make it happen.
"We started with a clean slate, with a brand new building and had to look at how we would build an audience," she said.
"I strongly believe audiences on the Central Coast should have the opportunity to see the best of the arts, to see what people in capital cities see, not see a different cast or have to wait a year or more until a show is on its way out.
"Being part of this original tour puts us way up in a different conversation, and puts us in a really strong position nationally."
It's not the first time The Art House has fought above its weight, having also scored the premiere of The Heights in January before its Sydney Opera House opening.
But because of its history, its energy and Grammy-Award-winning score, including Aquarius, Good Morning Starshine, Hair and Let the Sun Shine, Hair is in a different league.
It's also famously the musical which brought a teenage Marcia Hines to Australia to play the female lead of Dionne, now taken up by one-time Australian Idol favourite Paulini.
Four-time Logie winner Hugh Sheridan, best known for his role as Ben in Packed to the Rafters, plays Berger in his first leading role in a major musical.
Although set in the hippy counter-culture of the 1960s and targeting the Vietnam War, Anne-Marie said Hair's messages of peace, love, human rights, the environment and political activism for change were still relevant today.
"It's about people uniting and standing up for what they believe, and young people today are feeling empowered to have their say," Anne-Marie said.
She has been extremely pleased by the way in which the Coast has embraced its new arts venue.
Its diversity of its offerings, including comedy, music, theatre, and community productions, as well as workshops, she believes, allows everyone to look at the program and "find something there that they can say, that's for me".
She has also listened to feedback from Seniors and opened up more options when it comes to daytime programming.
Tickets for the Central Coast run of Hair from Thursday, September 19 to Saturday, September 21 (including a matinee) went on sale on May 10.
For bookings, go to thearthousewyong. com.au or phone (02)43351485.