TheIn the musical Hair, a group of politically-minded hippies aim to spread their message of acceptance and tolerance in a culture dealing with political and social unrest. This message is one that continues to resonate with audiences today.

For its first production, the new Altadena Music Theater Company will produce ’60s rock music by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Galt Macdermot.

The production will run Thursday, Sept. 1, through Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Charles C. Farnsworth Park Amphitheater. Theater Americana, another theater company, previously performed at the amphitheater when it began nearly 100 years ago.

Along with the production, the Altadena Music Theater will have a pre-show featuring music from the 1960s, performed by local artists. Beer, wine, food and merchandise will be available for sale.

The show is being produced by founder and artistic director Sarah Azcarate and directed by her husband, Oliver Azcarate.

Oliver has a personal connection to the musical Hair. At age 12, he saw his mother perform in a play at a community theater in San Francisco.

“He went to see every performance,” Sarah said.

“He really fell in love with the show then. He didn’t realize until now the effect it really had on him. It’s a very special show for him to direct.”

Sara will also perform in “Hair” as Sheila, a protesting student who lives with two tribal leaders. Daniel Hartman and Steve Mazurek are taking on the roles of the two leads, Claude and Berger, respectively.

The cast is filled with local actors mostly from Altadena, Pasadena and nearby communities. One of the local actresses involved is Sarah Habel from “Riverdale.”

On Friday and Saturday nights, Altadena’s Gaby Hoffmann of “Transparent” and “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” fame will join the cast.

“Hair” is known for its Grammy-winning musical score, which features songs such as “Aquarius”, “Let the Sunshine In”, “Easy to be Hard” and “Good Morning Starshine”. Sarah said the show started the trend of Broadway musicals crossing over into the mainstream world.

“It didn’t happen when you turned on the radio and heard a Broadway song,” Sarah said.

Sarah moved to Altadena in March 2020 and noticed the lack of theater. This inspired him to start one. She hopes to provide opportunities for local Los Angeles actors and a space for the community to see live theater.

The female-run company provides an inclusive platform for women, non-binary and marginalized performers to have a voice.

Long time thespian

Sarah started doing theater in San Diego at a young age.

With her company, she wanted to provide opportunities for adult and young performers. She hopes to do three to four shows each year, with a youth production.

Sarah has already been out in the community trying to engage with local people at events such as farmers markets and Saturday night concerts. She is working with groups such as the local chamber of commerce and spinning club, as well as Altadena Neighbors.

“Perhaps the most important reason we’re doing this is to create a safe space for artists in our community to come together to create and something that can excite the rest of the community to come and see,” Sarah said.

The production of the “Hair” company will be minimalistic and will really focus on the message of the show.

“I feel like our whole country and our society is more divided than ever before,” Sarah said. “Everyone feels like they have to fight each other for everything. Nobody listens to each other. It’s a similar problem that was happening back then. These young hippies were being ostracized by societies and treated as if they were crazy people. No one wanted to listen or try to understand each other back then. I feel like there are a lot of messages that are as important now as ever.”

The theater company’s version of “Hair” probably has no nudity because it’s in a public park and it detracts from its message.

“It’s such a beautiful, touching, deep show and we want the real message to come out,” said Sarah.

The actors shopped at thrift stores for their costumes. Sarah said the show will have a realistic feel, where the actors are presented as regular people from 1967.

They provide items that are harder to find, such as military clothing. The set will also be very bare, where part of the environment will be the park.

“This show doesn’t need to have an extravaganza of costumes and sets. It’s about the story, the message, the characters and the music,” said Sarah.

The show has interactive elements where the actors go out into the audience, hand out flowers or pamphlets and sing to the crowd.

Sara said for many actors, “Hair” is a dream/passion show. She says it really speaks to actors from different backgrounds.

“You can be any race, gender, orientation, size, age. It is very inclusive. There’s a wide range of people who feel like they identify with being able to be in ‘Hair,’” said Sarah.

Auditions attracted about 50 actors, and they were narrowed down to a cast of 24. Sarah said it was difficult with the level of talent they saw.

Along with running her own theater company, Sarah has a background as a singer/songwriter. In 2017, she released the song and music video “Room for Love” under her professional name Sarah Petrella.

She worked closely with her husband on the music video. “Hair” has given her the opportunity to collaborate with him again.

“It’s been a pleasure for us to do this project together,” said Sarah. “She just had our second child in November. We have a 4 year old and an 8 month old. It’s been a beautiful way for us to bond and work together in this way.”

Altadena Music Theater Production of “Hair”

WHEN: Doors open at 7pm Performance at 8pm on Thursday 1st September

until Sunday, September 4

WHERE: Charles S. Farnsworth Park Amphitheater,

568 E. Mountain Bend, Altadena

COST: Tickets start at $20


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