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‘Hair’ gets done up concert-style at Patchogue Theatre

Broadway cast members Diana DeGarmo and Ace Young star in 50th anniversary celebration.

Left to right, Ace Young, Paula Abdul and

Left to right, Ace Young, Paula Abdul and Diana DeGarmo at the 500th Broadway performance of "Hair" on June 11, 2010. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Jason Kempin

“It’s like a double rainbow,” says Broadway star Diana DeGarmo of her performance Friday and Saturday at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. The psychedelic imagery she conjures to describe her excitement about the two-night-only engagement is indeed apropos for the 50th anniversary celebration concert of ’60s-era rock musical “Hair.”

Not only does DeGarmo get another chance to belt out the soaring score of the Broadway hippie counterculture hit as Sheila, her role as a replacement in the 2009 Broadway revival, but she does it opposite her original co-star. Ace Young, now her husband, plays Berger, the charismatic, long-haired leader of the “tribe.”

“It’s fun to relive how we met,” says the “American Idol” alum, who finished as the runner-up of the talent competition’s third season. Although Young is also an “Idol” alum (he came in seventh during season 5), the two did not connect until they shared the Al Hirschfeld Theatre stage.

The concert also is an opportunity for the Nashville-based couple to reunite with members of the Broadway production’s tribe. The cast also boasts local talents Dalon Bradley from Uniondale, Krisbel Brenes Sandi from Bay Shore and Dan Kiernan from Amityville.

For the Patchogue shows, the musical’s freewheeling bohemian brood express themselves more through song than script, but the framework of the story is still there, according to DeGarmo. “The opening megahit, the mystical, energizing ‘Age of Aquarius,’ sets the tone. It tells the story of young people speaking out for what they believe.”

With the concert featuring the entire cast, minus the scenes, Grammy- and Emmy-winning director and conductor John McDaniel has enhanced their musical accompaniment. “More players in the band provides a bigger sound than in the Broadway production,” Young says.

Audiences are sure to be swept away by the show’s well-known anthems of joyful anarchy, the pulsating rhythms of such irresistible melodies as “Good Morning Starshine,” “Let the Sun Shine In,” “I Got Life” and other songs touting peace, love and happiness. But for Young, the show’s title track, “Hair,” is the most exhilarating.

“Gleaming, steaming, flaxen, waxen, knotted, polka-dotted, twisted, beaded, braided, powdered — I didn’t know there were so many ways to style hair,” he says, comparing the lyrics to those of an Eminem rap. “I had to picture what each one looked like so there would be no hiccup in my memory.”

But while the hairstyles may have been largely foreign to the actor, the story he helps to tell is a familiar one. “It is 50 years later,” he notes, “and we are still fighting to say ‘I am a person and I have the right to figure out who I am and what I stand for.’ ”

WHEN | WHERE 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, 71 E. Main St.

INFO $25-$65; 631-207-1313,


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