Viet Rock

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Viet Rock
Viet Rock Poster Cafe La Mama 1966.png
Music Marianne de Pury
Book Megan Terry
Productions

Viet Rock is a rock musical by Megan Terry that was the precursor to the musical Hair. A violent denunciation of the American involvement in the Vietnam War, the play was described by its author as a "folk war movie" comprising scenes of disillusionment and protest to the American military presence in Southeast Asia.[1] Viet Rock is widely considered to be the first rock musical written and performed in the United States, as well as the first protest play about Vietnam.[2] Its premiere also marks the first major theatre production in the United States in which actors left the stage to interact directly with the audience.[3]

The play was initially developed in 1965 and 1966 during collaborative workshops at New York City's The Open Theater under the leadership of Joseph Chaikin and Peter Feldman.[4] The company performed improvisations based on accounts of the Vietnam War, and Terry wrote and directed a full-length show based on these improvisations.[5] The music was composed by Marianne de Pury, who developed the songs during the workshops. It opened at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club on May 18, 1966.[6]

The play then had a two-week run at the Yale Repertory Theatre before its off-Broadway premiere at the Martinique Theatre on November 10, 1966. It closed at the Martinique on December 31 after 62 performances.[7][8]

One of the leading cast members was Gerome Ragni, who would go on to create the musical Hair with fellow actor James Rado. In developing Hair, Ragni borrowed the anti-war theme, as well as the experimental technique of improvisational exercises, from the production of Viet Rock.[9][10]

Publication[edit]

Viet Rock is published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc. in the collection Plays By Megan Terry.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Terry, Megan (Fall 1966). "Introduction to Viet Rock". Tulane Drama Review. 11: 196–98. 
  2. ^ Gary Botting, The Theatre of Protest in America, Edmonton: Harden House, 1972
  3. ^ Holsinger, M. Paul, ed. (1999). "Viet Rock (Musical)." in War and American Popular Culture. Westport: Greenwood Press. p. 425. ISBN 0313299080. 
  4. ^ Hughes, Catherine (1967). "The Theatre Goes to War". America. 20 May: 759–61. 
  5. ^ Bottoms, Stephen J. (2004). Playing Underground: A Critical History of the 1960s Off-Off-Broadway Movement. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 178–81. ISBN 047211400X. 
  6. ^ "LaMaMa E.T.C. Archives". Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Lincoln Center Postpones Play". New York Times. 21 Dec 1966. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Viet Rock". Lortel Archives. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  9. ^ Wollman, Elizabeth L. (2006). The Theater Will Rock: A History of the Rock Musical. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 43–44. ISBN 978-0-472-11576-1. 
  10. ^ Miller, Scott (2003). Let the Sun Shine In: The Genius of Hair. London: Heinemann. pp. 56–62. ISBN 978-0-325-00556-0. 
  11. ^ Terry, Megan (Editor). Plays by Megan Terry. Broadway Play Publishing. 

External links[edit]