James Rado, who jolted Broadway into the Age of Aquarius with the “American tribal love-rock musical” “Hair,” transfiguring musical theater custom with radical ’60s iconoclasm and rock ’n’ roll, died on Tuesday night in New York Metropolis. He was 90.
The publicist Merle Frimark, a longtime pal, mentioned the trigger was cardiorespiratory arrest.
A lot of the facility of “Hair” resided in its seeming uncooked spontaneity, but Mr. Rado labored over it for years together with his collaborator Gerome Ragni to good that have an effect on. Opposite to theatrical lore, he and Mr. Ragni weren’t out-of-work actors who wrote “Hair” to generate roles they might themselves play, however New York stage regulars with rising résumés.
They met as solid members in an Off Broadway revue known as “Grasp Down Your Head and Die,” a London switch that closed after one efficiency in October 1964. Mr. Rado bonded with Mr. Ragni and was quickly speaking to him about collaborating on a musical that will seize the exuberant, more and more anti-establishment youth tradition rising up throughout them within the streets of Decrease Manhattan — a musical about hippies earlier than hippies had a reputation.
A musician earlier than he’d turn into an actor, Mr. Rado started writing songs with Mr. Ragni, which they often sang in what have been then beatnik espresso homes in Greenwich Village.
Shifting to an house in Hoboken, N.J., the place rents have been even cheaper than in downtown Manhattan, they borrowed a typewriter from their landlord and went to work writing their musical in earnest, transcribing into track the sexual liberation, racial integration, pharmacological experimentation and opposition to the escalating Vietnam Warfare that was galvanizing their younger avenue archetypes. (They’d later enlist Galt MacDermot as composer.) In solidarity, Mr. Rado and Mr. Ragni additionally started letting their brief hair develop lengthy.
An entire obituary shall be revealed shortly.