ATC’s Long-awaited Production of HAIR Runs May 6-June 29, 2014

banner_hairAmerican Theater Company concludes the 2013-2014 Season with Hair, music & lyrics by James Rado & Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot. Hair will be directed by Artistic Director PJ Paparelli with Music Direction by Austin Cook, and will run May 6 – June 29, 2014 at American Theater Company, 1909 W Byron St, Chicago, IL.  

Greenwich Village. 1967. During the most tumultuous year in our nation’s history, a group of young hippies explore sex, love, and rock ‘n’ roll while fighting for civil rights and the end of the war in Vietnam. Artistic Director PJ Paparelli and author James Rado return some original 1967 off-Broadway material for this unique Chicago version of the controversial rock musical that forever changed the American theatre.

“Despite its thousands of productions around the globe, many would still argue that Hair is the most controversial musical of all time. But before the movie and Broadway productions, the rock musical was first produced in an intimate space that opened NY’s Public Theater. After 45 years, we have returned the specificity to Hair in embracing the joy and tension surrounding one of the most turbulent years in American history. Chicagoans who remember the riots in Grant Park will be taken back to the violence, the fire of youth, and a nation divided enough to run out into the streets to say ‘Enough is enough!’,says Artistic Director PJ Paparelli.

The production will feature Sky Seals (Berger), Zach Kenney (Claude), Ella Raymont (Sheila), Aaron Holland (Hud), Camille Robinson (Dionne), Christian Libonati (Woof), Mary Hollis Inboden (Jeanie), and Rachael Smith (Crissy). “The Tribe” is Liz Bollar, Candace Edwards, Gregory Geffrard, Addison Heimann, Cassandra Nelson, Travis Portia, and Matt Thinnes.

The creative team of Hair includes Austin Cook (Music Director), Mikey Rioux (Choreography), Keith Pitts (Set Design), Brittney Dee Bodley (Costume Designer), Brian Hoehne (Lighting Design), and Steven Yaussi (Sound Design). Production Stage Manager is Jon Nook.

Previews for Hair begin April 25, and the production will run through June 29, 2014. Tickets for Hair are currently on sale and available by calling the ATC box office at 773-409-4125 or by visitng the website   American Theater Company is located at 1909 W Byron St, off of Lincoln Avenue just south of Irving Park.

PJ Paparelli (Director/Artistic Director) enters his seventh season as Artistic Director of American Theater Company.  His ATC directing credits include columbinus (Five Jeff Nominations), The Catholic Rep: Doubt & Agnes of God, The Original Grease (Jeff Award for Best Musical), Escape, The Amish Project, Distracted, Yeast Nation (the new musical from the writers of Urinetown), Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Black & White Rep: True West (Caucasian & African American casts), and the regional premiere of Speech & Debate (Jeff Nomination).  He made New City’s “Top 50 Most Influential Theatre Players in Chicago ‘08, ‘11, & ’13.”  His ATC writing credits include columbinus and Every Year is This Year, which was co-written by Maria Irene Fornes for ATC’s The Silver Project.  He is currently developing, The Project(s), a documentary play on the history of Chicago’s public housing. From 2004-07, he was the Artistic Director of Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska.  During his tenure, Perseverance expanded its staff, completed a $1.1M facility expansion/renovation and $1M Endowment campaign and sent productions Off-Broadway, Washington DC, and around the country. His directing credits include Equus, The Who’s Tommy, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Hair, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Voyage, and columbinus.  PJ conceived and co-adapted Raven Odyssey, a theatrical journey of Alaska Native Raven stories, gathered through interviews with Elders across the state.

In 2002, PJ conceived, co-wrote, and directed columbinus, a documentary-style play about modern adolescence through the lens of the Columbine Shootings.  The play had its world premiere at Round House Theatre and Perseverance Theatre, and moved off-Broadway to New York Theatre Workshop.  Ten years later, PJ returned to Littleton, Colorado to re-interview survivors and write a third act, which premiered at ATC and toured to ArtsEmerson in Boston. columbinus was nominated for 2 Lucille Lortel Awards, 5 Helen Hayes Awards, and 5 Joseph Jefferson Awards and has seen over 100 productions around the world.

Austin Cook (Music Director) Austin’s work has been heard across the country as a performer, producer, musician and music director. His acting credits include the first national tour of Million Dollar Quartet (Jerry Lee Lewis, tour music director); Ain’t Misbehavin’ (himself); Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Hoss); Putting It Together (music director, man 4) for which he received a Jeff Award Nomination for Best Music Direction; and Some Enchanted Evening (music director/pianist) for which he received a Jeff Award for Best Music Direction. Favorite Music Director credits include first national tour of Million Dollar Quartet; Rooms: A Rock Romance; Porchlight Theatre; Theo Ubique; and Second City. Music Producer credits include work with Billy Woodward, John Michael Presney, Billy Woodward & The Senders, Yuleberrys & Friends, and Cody Slaughter.  Austin’s most recent album has been nominated by the Independent Music Awards for best Roots single and Best Blues EP. Austin is a proud ensemble member of American Blues Theater and Artistic Affiliate of Porchlight Music Theatre.

Aaron Holland (Hud) makes his ATC debut in Hair. Originally from Richmond, VA, Aaron has been performing in and around Chicagoland for the past 10 years, credits include Goodnight Moon, Dot & Ziggy (Chicago Children’s Theatre) to A Christmas Carol (The Goodman) and Brother/Sister Plays (Steppenwolf), and Hellcab 2012 (Profiles Theater), among others. Most recently he was seen as Adam in The Color Purple (Mercury Theater). Aaron has been nominated for two Black Alliance Awards and received the Kingsley Colton award at the American College Theatre Festival at the Kennedy Center in 2003. Aaron has a BFA in Theatre- Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University, is Playwright-In-Residence at Bailiwick Chicago and a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Mary Hollis Inboden (Jeanie) is a Chicago-based actor, writer and comedian.  A founding member of The New Colony, Mary Hollis helped to create and starred in critically-acclaimed hits such as The Warriors, Calls to Blood (NYC Fringe Fest Award Winner, 2010) and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (available in print from Samuel French, Inc). Mary Hollis was voted Best Local Actress by the Chicago Reader in the 2011 “Best of” issue and made her television debut on “The Chicago Code.” She went on to appear regularly as Jackie Shope on “Boss,” starring Kelsey Grammer, for Starz/Lionsgate TV. A proud Chicago resident, she enjoys supporting network and independent series produced in locally, appearing in viral favorites such as “Funemployed” and “Kam Kardashian.” Most recently, Mary Hollis starred opposite Steve Coogan and Carla Gugino in the ABC pilot, “Doubt. 

Rachael Smith (Crissy) makes her Chicago debut with ATC’s production of Hair. She received her training from Baylor University and The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre.

Sky Seals (Berger) makes his Chicago debut at ATC. After studying Musical Theater at the University of Northern Colorado, Sky got his Equity card in a production of Hair at the Pantages Theater (produced by the Chanhassen Dinner Theater) in Minneapolis, MN. Since moving to NYC 8 1/2 years ago, he has co-founded a non-profit theater company (Wide Eyed Productions), performed Off-Broadway (Dylan in “Sessions: The New Musical”), gone on tour (“The Mystery of King Tut” with Theaterworks), and composed two original children’s musicals (“Jack and the Soy Beanstalk” and “Goldilocks and the Three Polar Bears”), as well as playing guitar for productions of “Rent” and “Next to Normal”. Sky’s favorite lead roles have been Jason (The Medea), Pippin, Joseph, King Edward (Henry VI: part 3), Billy Bigelow, and Berger, of course.

Zach Kenney (Claude) Zach makes his ATC debut in Hair.  Chicago credits include: Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience); Chicago Boys (Goodman Theatre); The Gospel According to James (Victory Gardens Theater); The Farnsworth Invention, Not Enough Air (TimeLine Theatre Company); It’s a Wonderful Life, Waiting for Lefty (American Blues Theater, Artistic Affiliate).  Regional credtis: 1776 (Asolo Repertory Theatre & American Conservatory Theater, directed by Frank Galati); Who Am I This Time… and Mary’s Wedding (Indiana Repertory Theatre). A San Francisco native, Kenney originated the role of Horace in Horton Foote’s The Actor.

Christian Libonati (Woof) credits include The Marriott Theatre: Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook Theater, The Mercury Theater, The House Theatre of Chicago, Theatre Unspeakable, and The Filament Theatre Ensemble. Regionally Christian as performed in Grease (Broadway World Nomination for Best Actor-Danny), Peter Pan (Peter Pan), Big River (Huck Finn) at the Summer Theatre of New Canaan. Christian is a founding member and the Managing Director for the Filament Theatre Ensemble, which has recently found a permanent home in Chicago’s Six Corners/ Portage Park neighborhood. Christian is a graduate of Northwestern University.

Ella Raymont (Sheila) makes her debut at ATC. Past work in Chicago includes Lookingglass Theater (The Little Prince), iO theater and Women’s theater alliance. Ella holds a BFA in musical theatre from Ball State University.

Camille Robinson (Dionne) makes her ATC debut in Hair. Recent credits include Once Upon a People (Black Ensemble Theater), Once on this Island (Broadway in Naperville), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Goode Theater), A Christmas Carol (Virginia Stage Company), and Kind of Blue (UNC Historic Playmakers).

Candace C. Edwards (Ensemble, Dionee U.S.) is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago where she earned her Bachelor degree in Broadcast Journalism with an interdisciplinary major in Television.  She has been in numerous shows, as well as on TV, and is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. Her most recent stage credits include performing with The Goodman Theater in “Crowns”. She has also performed with The Black Ensemble Theater in The Other Cinderella (Cinderella) and Nothing but the Blues; Congo Square Theater in The Nativity. Candace has also been featured in two hit TV shows. “Boss” starring Kelsey Grammer, and the new hit TV show “Mind Games” starring Christian Slater and Steve Zahn.

Cassandra Nelson (Ensemble/Sheila U.S./ Chrissy U.S.) makes her ATC debut in Hair. She is a senior musical theatre major and dance minor at North Central College. Previously, she has been seen in Henry VIII at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, as well as many productions at North Central (Into the Woods-Cinderella, Float-Luce, Spelling Bee-Marcy Park, etc.)

Greg Geffrard (Ensemble) credits include One Week In Spring (Prop Theatre); Holidaze (Step Up Productions); One Week In Spring (Halcyon Theatre); Bud, Not Buddy (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Superior Donuts (Royal George Theatre); and Seascape (Remy Bumppo). Greg is an ensemble member of Barrel of Monkeys.

Matt Thinnes (Ensemble/Woof U.S.) makes his ATC debut with Hair. Matt graduated from Baldwin-Wallace College where he received his B.A. in Theatre and Film Studies.

Most recently, he understudied and performed in Bedroom Farce (Eclipse Theatre Company) and appeared on the television show “Mind Games.” Other Chicago credits include: Almost an Evening (Circle Theatre).

Liz Bollar (Ensemble/Jeannie U.S.) makes her ATC debut with Hair. With her heart and roots in southern California, Liz has lived in Chicago for 6 years, where she received her BFA in musical theatre from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and has been fortunate to work with many theatres throughout the city. Credits include: Reefer Madness (Circle Theatre), Les Miserables (The Little Theatre on the Square), Knuffle Bunny and The Frog Prince, Cont. (Emerald City Theatre Company), Click, Clack, Boo (Lifeline Theatre) and A New Brain (Pastiche Productions).

Travis Porchia (Ensemble) makes his ATC debut in Hair. Other Chicago credits include Sweet Charity (Writers’ Theatre), Hairspray (Drury Lane Oakbrook), The Petrified Forest (Strawdog Theater Co.), Pippin (Boho Theater), Meet John Doe (Porchlight Music Theatre), Footloose! (Theater at the Center), and most recently, The Color Purple (Mercury Theater Chicago). Regional theater credits include Chicago, (Peninsula Players-Door County, WI). Film and TV credits include: “Boulevard,” an AT&T Uverse commercial, “Where You At?” a Jennifer Hudson music video, and “Dhoom 3: Back in Action” (Feature Film).

Noelle Humbert (Swing) is making her ATC debut in Hair. Recent productions include Spring Awakening, Into the Woods, and The Taming of the Shrew.  She is currently a sophomore pursuing degrees in Theatre and Business at North Central College.

Addison Heimann (Ensemble) has had the pleasure of working with such Chicago theatres as Writers Theatre, Shattered Globe, Teatro Vista, Theatre-Hikes, Promethean Theatre Ensemble, and the Waltzing Mechanics. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s theatre program under Daniel Cantor.


American Theater Company is an ensemble of artists committed to producing new and classic American stories that ask the question, “What does it mean to be an American?”

American Theater Company is supported by a CityArts Program 2 Grant and a Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Office of Tourism & Culture, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and the generous support of Prince Charitable Trusts and Barbara Kipper.