The Sunday Giveaway: 2 Tickets to Hair on Broadway!

The recent Broadway revival of Hair directed by the exceptionally creative Diane Paulus spawned a tour that has been getting naked all over the country for the last 9 months or so.

And they are spending their summer here with us on Broadway at The St. James Theater.  (Lots of shows used to play summer stops on Broadway before heading back out on the road – it’s nice to see this model come back with Hair.)

So if you’ve got a craving to experience The Tribe all over again, or if you missed it the first time, now’s your chance, because we’ve got 2 tickets to give away!

Here’s how we’re going to pick a winner:

The nude scene in Hair obviously shook a lot of people up when it first revealed itself back in the day.  It’s still something people talk about, although I just had dinner with a neighbor last night who recently took their 10-year-old to the show because they didn’t think it was a big deal anymore.

Obviously times have changed. (There’s a video billboard in Times Square for American Eagle that shows a mostly naked girl that I’d bet wouldn’t have been approved a decade ago.)

My question is this . . . is nudity in the theater still shocking?  Is it more accepted nowadays?  Do you think there will be more of it in the future, or less?

Comment below (or by clicking here) your feelings on nakedness in the theater and I’ll pick a winner randomly from the comments.

Good luck!

 

(Got a comment?  I love ’em, so comment below!  Email subscribers, click here, then scroll down, to say what’s on your mind!)

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FUN STUFF

– 81 Days to Godspell!  Read the day-by-day account of producing Godspell on Broadway here.

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Comments
  • Julie Keyes says:

    I think that it is obviously much more accepted today! Personally, I don’t care for nakedness in the theater but I think it will always be shocking, but for shows like Hair where you know it’s coming it’s not as big a deal as if it were a show that you weren’t familiar with and then they were naked. I think it will be pretty much the same in the future, I don’t think that because it is more accepted now it will be even more in the future. I think it will really just be if necessary they will include it. But, personally I don’t think it is necessary at all.. lol

  • Laurett Gannon says:

    Hi Ken-
    I don’t think that nudity in theater shocking if it’s within the context of the story. I always felt that the nudity in HAIR was done in a very thoughtful way to represent the vulnerability of the characters and the stripping away of all of the “fringe” to show the raw and humanistic side of what people are going through. It’s a non-issue with me.
    Great Blog and Congratulations on your success!

  • Sarah P. says:

    I definitely think it’s become less shocking, although I’d say it probably still does depend on the context of the nudity (not to mention the duration 🙂 )…not only because it’s more common in theatre nowadays, but also just more common throughout the culture. I’d say perhaps more in the future, or perhaps just more about the same, certainly not less…

  • Robb J says:

    It can be shockingdependig on how it is done. I was shocked when the male lead in High got naked. It wasn’t obscene, but I was not expecting it. And it was totally earned and did not feel like a stunt.
    In the original show, the first act nudity in Hair was not only shocking, but considered obscene to many. The current version not so much. It is anticipated. And the demographic that was so opposed to it before is made up of people who were the original target audience of the original productions.
    I am sure there will be more of it in the future, but not every show needs it. Even Spring Awakening had a Wendla that did not expose breasts (Krysta Rodriguez)and no one complained.
    As long as it serves the story bring it on.

  • jpillet3@gmail.com says:

    For me, it depends on how it’s done. I once saw a show in Buffalo where people were naked for the sake of being naked, for shock value. The guy was in a hospital gown and letting everything fly, and fan kicking off the bed just to make SURE we could see everything. This was unrealistic, the guy was dying of aids, there was NO way he had the energy to fan kick off the bed. However, in spring awakening, it made sense, and actually ADDED to the moment, and the severity of the situation. I feel that as long as it’s done in the vein of the story and isn’t simply for shock value, I’m okay witb it.

  • Andrew says:

    I don’t think nudity is shocking anymore to most of us in the younger generation. Reason being is that nudity is much more accessible now, thanks to the internet. If you’re 13 and curious, you don’t have to go snooping at the public library or in your older brother’s magazine collection…you have the world wide web at your fingertips!
    Nudity in theatre is becoming less and less of a “restriction” for viewers. It’s shock value is quickly being diminished. Something that WOULD shock me today is to see a couple having sex on stage (and I’m not talking under the sheets!).

  • Dana Marie says:

    I love nakedness – I do not love tattoos though- I saw Pilobolus last night and the dancers were lovely, but the tattoos polluted the beauty of the human form

  • Erin O'Brien says:

    I think the response to nudity is generational, and therefore is more readily accepted as time passses. I saw HAIR on tour with my grandmother, who at intermission said, “Let’s hope they have their clothes on when the lights come up.” But people in their 20’s and 30’s aren’t going to flinch at nudity, especially in the dim lighting of that scene.

  • Ben says:

    I think it depends on how the nudity is handled. Our society is much more accepting of nudity in story telling now than it was when Hair first came to be.

  • Allie says:

    I think it’s generally more accepted but it also depends on what is going on with conjunction to the nudity. In Hair, it’s a scene about liberation and from the way it’s lit if you’re sitting 15 or so rows back you may not see the specific “things” or however we want to refer to them. At this point with Hair, the nudity is expected. If nudity is used in another play simply for shock value then audience reaction may be entirely different. Just imagine if Wicked had gone the way of the book which had detailed scenes about Elphaba and Fiyero. It definitely wouldn’t be the family show it is now.

  • Max says:

    With the recent revivals of Hair and Equus, I think it has become more accepted. In general I think the shock value of nudity doesn’t have the impact it once did. I do think the shock value would be more if we didn’t expect it. But we usually know its coming. In the case of Equus it probably increased ticket sales.

  • If it’s an integral part of the show, and not shown in a vulgar way, nudity on stage should be accepted.
    if there is to be more graphic nudity, a shows website and ticket sellers (Box Office, TDF, etc) should notify or post a rating, such as they do with movies.

  • Bryce Cutler says:

    I don’t think it is at all anymore. What’s shocking is the unexpected, and living in a world where we are bombarded with imagery of skin tight clothing, bathing suits that show more then they should and other sexual content, nudity isn’t something that scares the general population. It can be if used properly, but typically it’s effect is lost and displaced on audiences who view it as a naked person completely forgetting who or why they are naked.

  • Sarah says:

    I think it’s more accepted today but it hasn’t lost all shock value. It’s unexpected in the theater (especially musical theater- even Hair) so it still has that sort of dangerous/novelty factor.

  • Beth Gelman says:

    I think no matter what people say, on-stage nudity is always shocking. The big question is whether people can get past the shock and get re-involved in the show again. If they can’t, then it’s no different from any other directorial conceit that gets in between the audience and the play. (On a side note, I remember being asked about my own comfort being nude onstage when I was up for a role in a past revival of Hair. All I could think was: my mother will freak out!)

  • Molly Kessler says:

    I personally think that nudity won’t become a more current thing to see on the stage. Of course there was spring awakening with the minor nudity at the end of act 1, but i think hair is different. Hair’s nudity is something more powerful and holds meaning. The scene is all about protest and to me I know I was never shocked seeing the scene. After each time the scene ‘where do I go’ became more and more beautiful instead of shocking. I think nudity won’t become a huge trend, unless it is necessary for the shows content!

  • Ramon Valdez says:

    Theatre is meant to make people think. Those that participate in theatre leave themselves vulnerable and open to criticism. Being naked is perhaps the most vulnerable state that you can physically be in so it makes sense that nudity finds its way onto the stage.

  • Gillien says:

    In olden days a glimpse of stocking
    Was looked on as something shocking,
    But, now, God knows,
    Anything Goes!

  • Linda says:

    There is still a sign outside Hair that warns about the nude scene, so I think if it was totally not shocking, there would be no need for that sign. And usually if there is a nude scene in the show, it gets a lot of attention. But everyone will react to nudity differently, so whether it’s shocking or not depends on the individual, but as a society, I don’t think we’ve reached the point where nudity has lost its shock value in theater.

  • MomsThoughts says:

    My parents were at the original performance several times and once the naked man sat next to my mom…we didn’t even hear about this until we were adults! ha! She still turns red talking about it! Now, I have no problem with my kids seeing it. I have no problem with nudity – its just body parts – as long as its not gratuitous or porn – why not? Hair was the first show my daughter went to with just friends and no parents. 🙂

  • Elissa Z. says:

    I think that nudity is slightly less shocking today purely because of society’s ever changing shock levels. Movies now compared to movies even just a decade ago show much more in terms of nudity and it’s accepted because of it’s context. Same goes for theater.
    The theater, however, is such a closed in and vulnerable experience that putting someone, or many someones, in their most vulnerable, naked state on stage helps to prove those characters points in a stronger way.
    Had the nudity gone from being topless to being completely naked from original to revival, then I think it would have been more shocking to see but it would have still been appropriate within the shows context.

  • MattyD. says:

    Nudity as shock value isn’t necessarily accepted these days, but as consumers of entertainments we’ve become desensitized to it overall with the bombardment of sexuality that permeates all other forms of media. Audiences expect sexuality when they see theater only because it’s almost become a part of the fabric of entertainment these days. Sex sells, yes? Back when ‘Hair’ first premiered that scene was used to shock the audiences because the musical is such a celebration of counter-cultured America and much of the audience were ‘theater patrons’ who weren’t necessarily prepared for what they were getting into…they still thought of musicals as the Rogers & Hammerstein kind. That scene is part of the framework of the show’s themes and mission.
    I think audiences do appreciate nudity in situations that would call for it. I know of some friends who laugh at the buzz ‘Equus’ caused a few years ago because of how important that nudity is in the framework of the play and the development of the characters. Same thing with ‘Take Me Out’, and how people would flock to the theater to see the guys naked–and there are even in-theater stills of it online–all to catch a little peen and the scandal surrounding it, but in the situation of the play and the importance of telling that story, audiences want that to be as realistic as possible.
    I think something that uses nudity purely to make money (i.e. Naked Boys Singing) could be discarded of, if only because it feels cheap and gimmicky.

  • Morgan says:

    I don’t find nudity shocking. And I find it far more tasteful in theatre than in movies where it is rampant. In theatre, most likely because of the live nature and the repetitive vulnerability the actors experience by doing it every night, directors are more careful with it. Three shows I’ve seen in the past several weeks had nudity: Thru A Glass Darkly, Sleep No More and iHo. So I feel it isn’t shocking to the general theatre going public as it once might have been.

  • evan says:

    It works if it is for the art.

  • Shannon D. says:

    Nudity is definitely more acceptable in today’s US culture. Today’s youth is over-exposed to it because it’s blatantly thrown into almost every movie, TV show, store ad, and video game just for the “shock value”.
    However, I have never experienced that in the theatre, but with one exception.
    Anytime there has been any nudity on stage, it was always artistically done. And even though shows always advise that there is nudity, or even partial nudity, I still get shocked by it because you still don’t know when it’s going to happen, or in what context.
    However,the one exception was a show that ran last season that had excessive sex, drug use, and actors in their underwear for most of the show, with barely any story line, so obviously teenagers and college kids flocked to it.
    However, I couldn’t take my 13 year old niece to it for that reason, even though the music was phenomenal! It was in no way artistic; hence why unfortunately ticket sales dropped and it closed when the hype was over.
    It upset me to sensor her “theatre going”, but I would take her Hair if she asked me because the show in no way promotes or glorifies the drugs, sex, or nudity.
    And, will there be more in the future? Possibly.
    But there is barely any now, so “more” only means 1 or 2 shows out of all the wonderful productions that take place On & Off-Broadway.
    If every other show all of a sudden had the actors running around naked, myself, and other theatre go-ers would be thoroughly disappointed because it would be there for no reason except to sell tickets.

  • Susan says:

    Live theater is so much more personal an experience than television or movies, so I think nudity on stage creates more emotion than in other media. It is powerful and even a little uncomfortable to be in the same place with a naked and vulnerable human. It may not be as shocking as it once was, but for me stage nudity is still very powerful.

  • Kimberly says:

    It may be less ‘shocking’ but still carries some visceral weight. I hope we see less of it… because then it makes the sparing, purposeful use of it that much more emotional — like it was in Hair when the show first debuted.

  • Frank says:

    I all depends upon the context. In Hair it’s presented in a non threatening subtext, not meant to disturb, tittilate, or shock. The same actors in the same venue, could easily shock with nudity if the book’s purpose is that.

  • ran Xia says:

    I think the trend is nude scenes becoming not a big deal. It will eventually diminish towards the lesser amount but right now it’s still on the acceleration track. We haven’t gone to the peak yet but sooner than later nakedness will decrease

  • Dan says:

    Shocking? That is tough- nudity will always be shocking to some, and boring to others. It can often be an easy choice, put in a play to mechanically spice up something that doesn’t succeed as well on its own. And it’s almost de rigueur in gay theatre, to the point where, in a show I just directed, we made the conscious choice NOT to have the actors get naked, mostly because that is what would be expected. It would have been completely appropriate to the scene, but would it have added anything? Probably not, and if that is the case, then why have it?

  • Lorelei says:

    Nudity is much less shocking today in theatre than it used to be. Coming from someone who did a revival of a show with nudity in it and comparing the reactions we got versus reactions from the first cast it’s definitely a completely lesser reaction

  • Allison says:

    If it works for the scene, I think nudity makes it more personal in live theater. As long as it’s not nudity for publicity.

  • Liz Wollman says:

    It was standard off off Broadway stuff when Hair first emerged on Broadway in 1968, but became less typical through the later 1970s and 1980s. I think nudity is due for a renaissance, frankly, and get the sense that it’s been recurring more of late.

  • Justin says:

    I was told recently by a producer, “If you want to sell a show out, put in some male nudity”. I don’t think it is going anywhere. I don’t think it is so much “shocking” any more, as it is enticing for many.

  • Barry says:

    Nudity is simply a costume choice. I would rather see nudity used–tastefully done of course–than a badly designed costume.

  • Amanda S. says:

    It depends on the context, but in general I don’t find nudity in the theatre shocking. I think playwrights and directors have to go much further to shock us nowadays. However, I don’t think nudity exists in theatre merely to shock. It is just another part of storytelling.

  • Michael B. says:

    Unfortunately, it’s not shocking anymore. Nudity nowadays seems to be used as a plot device and used for a purpose. In the recent revival of Angels in America, the nudity was used tastefully to reveal a character’s struggle with his disease or one’s stripping of himself for “love.” And with Hair, the characters are stripping away their fears and indiscretions (though their appearance may not be “dramaturgically” precise.) Though in CSC’s Unnatural Acts, the use of nudity is just a distraction. Sure, the character needs to reveal being comfortable changing in front of gay men, but the length of his nudity is far too long and takes away from the scene.
    Nudity will forever live in live theater. It just won’t be as shocking. The more that’s revealed in cinema and television, the less of an impact it has in theater.

  • scott stolzenberg says:

    Bring it on! Sex sells!

  • Andy Monroe says:

    Maybe I’m just a desensitized New Yorker, but I don’t find nudity shocking at all. It’s also fairly prevalent in theatre today (if not always on Broadway, then off-Broadway–in fact, I just saw it again in UNNATURAL ACTS at CSC last week). Often, however, it can be a distraction even when it’s an integral part of the onstage situation. Part of me is suddenly aware of the actor being naked, as opposed to the character being naked, and it can take me a moment to re-engage in the character and the stakes of the play again. I think it’s not going away anytime soon. The “taboo” has been broken and I don’t think there’s any going back.

  • ryan w says:

    it is not shocking now, because it is done in a classy way. times have changed. when the scene with nudism come in hair, it is an inspiring moment, when claude is singing you watch and listen to him then notice the inspirational singing of the tribe and then after the fact notice they are nude! it is not a problem because the heart in the scene and song over rides the fact they are actually nude. i feel more of things like this will come along and be accepted because of the meaning of the scene! it is so powerfull, it is not to be nude, it is symbolism of the power and the heart of that particular scene in that particular show. it is acepted , and there will be more to come, and there will be no worries as there use to be.

  • Rick Stutzel says:

    On the one hand, I don’t think nudity on stage is shocking, but on the other, most of the nudity is gratuitious to the show and is only displayed to draw an audience.

  • Lindsay B says:

    Nudity can be controversial depending on where you are (location matters), the length of the scene, and the gender of the performers. I have seen two productions of “The Credeaux Canvas” and was astounded the second time around (in Western NY, its own version of the bible belt) at just how many people were outraged when the actor removed his clothes in comparison to the actress. I found it funny when the complaint was that his scene was too long when she was nude far longer. Audiences make as much sense when it comes to their censorship as the MPAA, which is not at all.

  • Victoria says:

    I will never forget the first time I saw Spring Awakening. I had brought my father and step mother along and when the lights came up for intermission he was speechless. It may be a tad less shocking than in previous years, but its far from completely accepted. There will always be the more conservative audience that is highly dissaproving, but more and more people are opening their minds to the possible beauty that nude scenes can hold.

  • Emily says:

    I feel that it has and will always be in the theatre. I am not sure if nudity will increase, but I am sure that more scandalous things will happen onstage.

  • terry h says:

    I don’t mind nudity if it serves the story, but not as a “selling” point.
    I saw Jane Fonda in the LA production of 33 VARIATIONS which I thought was rather dull, but perked up when Jane takes off her top (she’s having a medical exam) which makes sense story-wise but all anyone talked about at the end was how “great Jane looks” and speculation on if she had surgery, etc. No buzz about if the play was interesting or moving, just “how Jane looked”!
    Then I saw the Geffen Playhouse production of Jane Anderson’s THE ESCORT which is about a high-end sex worker so nudity would seem natural as part of the story. Jane has the main character fill the audience in on a convention that will be employed throughout the play to avoid nudity: The actors wear flesh-colored body suits in scenes requiring full exposure.
    The escort, Charlotte, explains in this witty, direct address prologue, the author “feels that it takes too much work for you, the audience, to stay focused if there are exposed breasts and genitals competing with the dialogue.” True!
    I remember seeing the play TAKE ME OUT, which had a nude shower scene. I attended with a male friend who insisted we get first row seats to be able to “see the play better” (nudge nudge). I don’t remember the dialogue of that scene AT ALL, or what it was about or if it was a key scene in the development of the story, I just remember the actor’s junk dangling in my face.
    So of course, nudity has an effect on the play and is very OFTEN a distraction.

  • Joyce Joseph says:

    Yes, it’s still a bit of a shock! You may be interested to know that when I was a kid, when “Hair” first hit Broadway in the late 60’s, my Mom was going to take me when some friends talked her out of it. I’ll always remember that we saw “Zorba the Greek” instead! Where is that show now??!! Anyway, even as an adult I find it a bit unsettling, but it wouldn’t prevent me from seeing a show. (remember Equus?)

  • Bethynyc says:

    Nudity can work if it works within the context of the story and not simply to titillate the audience. THE PARIS LETTER has a scene that works, and shows the emotional aftermath of the previous evening. Nudity can show vulnerability, clarify the space in a scene, (as in UNNATURAL ACTS) or shock. The playwright needs to think about what the choice shows, not just throw it in for no reason. Nudity needs to be organic–after all, how many of us take showers with clothing on?

  • Warren says:

    First of all I’m no prude but nudity on stage is an entirely different thing. When I go to see a play I expect to be immersed in the drama. When someone of either sex strips off, you can’t help objectifying the performer. Instead of concentrating on the conflict you end up checking out their body and its merits. Minutes go by and you suddnely realise you have no idea of what the actors have said or done. But as a Brechtian alienation device, now that may just work!

  • Alan says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with nudity in theatre of it is done right. I mean, it’s 2011. Times have changed.

  • Jason Thinger says:

    I think it is much more acceptable now than it was 10 years ago. We are all so exposed to it all now. The rapid growth of Reality TV has certainly made everyone much more aware of the subject and more comfortable with it. I also think it is that way that the nudity is portrayed. In Hair it is very tasteful and not done in a sexual way. I think if they were up there performing some kind of sexual act it would be a different story but for now it’s just being presented as human nature.

  • Shephard says:

    Wow, you hit a nerve, look how important this issue is to people!? lol I am guessing this question wouldn’t have been such a big deal in The West End.
    I don’t care either way… but… if it (for example) got people into the theatre to see the brilliant play “Take Me Out,” then more power to them. It was an amazing play and more people saw it initially because of the multiple nude shower scenes.
    ~S

  • Cindy says:

    I think there will always be people who accept it or refuse to. I grew up hearing with parents refusing to see shows that contained nudity because they felt in all situations in was just a gimmick to get audience members to a show, and somehow “cheapening” a show or being easy shock-value. As a young theater professional I was always ambivalent about it- I myself would probably never do it, but if someone else wants to, fine. The first show I saw with nudity was Angels in America this past year, and I remember thinking that it was completely appropriate and heart-wrenching and worked for that moment. Sleep No More was #2…where there was A LOT of nudity, but in performances that are so mesmerizing and where it is actually what the characters would do (who would take a bath with clothes on?) it doesn’t negatively affect me. (Then there was the time I was front row at High, though, and…surprise!). I think when it is done well and the material is well written, it works. I look forward to hopefully seeing Hair as I hope and assume this is another scenario where it is true to the time period and scene, and just works.

  • Mozz says:

    Love it. Want more of it.

  • Andrew Storm says:

    I do not think that the nudity itself is a necessary shock value thing!I would say that it would depend on the context of the scene and how nudity was used in the scene. If there was a victimization or brutalization aspect to the nudity it would be far more shocking than if it were a casual part of a scene done strictly for passing effect!

  • Katie O'Brien says:

    I think nudity in the theatre is still shocking to a certain degree just because even though we’re used to it in movies and tv shows, this is “real life” in front of us and the people in our lives don’t strip in front of a huge crowd.
    However, it is definitely more accepted than in the olden days *because* we are so used to it in tv shows and movies.
    As for whether there’ll be more or less in the future…I think there’ll be more. The younger generation is even *more* exposed to nudity and the likes in tv shows, etc. so their generation of theatre will probably be even more risque than ours!

  • John says:

    Will Geer did it in his homegrown theater Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga back in those days, but yes, I think it will always be shocking and I don’t think it will occur more or less in the future.

  • EmilyGrace H. says:

    Nudity in theater should be treated as it is in the movies and TV. It should not come as a surprise to viewers; in other words, it should be made clear what age is considered appropriate to see the show in question. Clear warnings should be provided. Nudity–like cursing–should be used to develop, and enhance the show’s storyline/characters rather than merely for shock value. Broadway isn’t porn. It’s important for a show to ask themselves “Is this necessary? What will it do to change the general feeling of the scene?” i believe the same about sex scenes. Bottom line: Nudity should be treated with class and used infrequently only when necessary in ANY entertainment, live or not. I feel that as a whole, nudity is a tool in entertainment that–when executed well–can add much to the enjoyment of said show. It can’t only be that though. Remember it can only enhance what’s already established. Sexy, nude scenes of a so-so written piece of fluff is always going to be less memorable than a show that manages to avoid anything pg13 but is well done and beautifully thought out.
    If my ramble makes absolutely no sense (I wouldn’t be surprised) then to sum it up:
    1) Nudity will always be unexpected EVERYWHERE, but in today’s society not shocking. What’s shocking is if it’s done well.
    2) Like I said, it’s less of a headliner now. Some still detest it and believe that it’s inappropriate, but those kind of people will always exist. Majority says yes (even if some really rather not, it’s rolling with the times)
    3) We’re becomin more and more extremely lax about what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m sure this whole nudity debacle will remain a controversy, but it’s harsh teed to continue to grow in popularity.

  • Allison says:

    I think it’s less shocking to most people, but it’s hard to not think that nude scenes are there to shock people.

  • Michael DiGaetano says:

    Having seen the original when I was only ye big, and also having seen naked Kathleen Turner, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Radcliff, to me it’s no big deal. It will always be a problem to certain groups. There will be more and those who don’t like it (as long as it’s advertised) don’t have to come. Theatre is for open minded people. The rest can go to Branson.

  • We live in both Puritanical and sexually saturated (read:more exposed skin) times simultaneously. I prefer the latter. Expect Theatre to follow the times, rather than lead.

  • Gabygold13@gmail.com says:

    I think it is more of a feigned shock. Tourists from Middle America are enabled to return home with ‘shocking’ stories of seeing someone’s full monty and feeling a little naughty and titillated. I think we will see MORE in the future (in more ways than one).

  • Ronni says:

    I think it depends on the context. If nudity is relevant to the story, then it’s not meant to be shocking. But in general, I think our generation is just a lot more accepting of everything, not just nudity.

  • Joe L says:

    Hi, Ken,
    I’ve seen “Hair” twice and the nudity was so tastefully done at the end of Act I, it was fine. My 25 year old daughter has seen “Hair” three times already and she still loves the show. We went to see “Equus” with Daniel Radcliffe which had nudity and again it was tastefully done. When I saw the original cast in the 1970’s with Leonard Nimoy as the psychiatrist, there was some shock value in that scene, but again, it was done well. When we saw “Dracula, the Musical” there was also two scenes of nudity and it was well performed. “Spring Awakening” also had nudity, but, that was also part of the show.
    I think that we are going to see nudity in the theater- not in all shows because it would lose it’s impact, but maybe one in a season. As long as the public is notified that there is nudity, they can decide whether or not to see the show and whether or not to bring their family.
    Thanks for giving me the chance to comment.
    Joe

  • Vana says:

    I don’t think nudity on stage is any more or less shocking than seeing nudity in the movies. I just saw a play with some nudity in it. It was a bathroom scene and it was appropriate. So it doesn’t bother me.

  • Michael R. says:

    I think the nudity in Hair is much different because there is nothing really sexual about it – it would be different if there were people actually having sex naked on the stage (like, well, Spring Awakening). I think that’s what makes it a little less shocking. Children see so much on TV and the internet it’s probably hard to shock them these days.

  • dirofcomp@yahoo.com says:

    nudity will become more prevalent
    Rember the shower scene in take me out
    Nothing is wrong with nudity
    I saw three Hair three times
    the final
    performance in central
    ( which was beautiful with the moon behind the stage)
    and twice on broadway
    last time with new (non-london cast)
    I luv the musical hair

  • Barbara says:

    I saw Hair on Broadway for my sixth grade graduation in the early seventies. I remember thinking it was really “cool” that my mom took me to the play and barely remember the nudity (excuse the pun). I think that when there is nudity onstage there is a moment of “okay” and then you caught up in the action and it all seems natural (as long as there is reason for it)!

  • Karatekidt says:

    I think nudity is less shocking today for those who frequent the theater. For those who don’t, I imagine it’s still quite shocking.

  • Jerry Ferguson says:

    I first saw Hair on tour in 1971. As a seventeen year old boy I was very excited to see the nudity, how ever brief and motionless it was,and found to be very exciting! I saw the show again 40 years later on the same stage. At 58 years old I found the nudity however brief and motionless to be very exciting. Not because, like before I not seen a naked wowan before, but because it returned me to my youth and a very special time in my life and in the life of this country!

  • Rebecca L. says:

    I don’t think I’m shocked by nudity on stage, but I always just feel a little uncomfortable because so rarely does it seem to really help the plot along.

  • Amanda M. says:

    I don’t think nudity is shocking in the theater because it usually makes sense in the action taking place on stage. In both Hair and Spring Awakening, it fit with the plot and seemed to enhance what was going on, instead of censoring it. I just hope that the theater doesn’t become a venue that goes out of the way to include (partial) nudity for no real reason like in other entertainment industries like movies and TV.

  • Anita Levy-Sisk says:

    Shocking? Nudity alone is not shocking, and I have no “problem” with it as long as it’s in context and done for the right reasons. Just to have nudity because it’s no big deal, or just to raise eyebrows would still annoy me.
    I would not bring MY 10 year old to a show I knew contained nudity — he’s still a child and would not understand its relevance, at all. And while I don’t want him to be ashamed of his body, shouldn’t SOMETHING be special and maybe even a little mysterious for when he grows up?
    That being said, I brought my HS group to see Hair and only one parent took issue with it. (of course, she didn’t keep her child from attending — she just wanted to make a stink.)

  • Kerry Zukus says:

    Overall, I believe there is less nudity now than when it was a novelty, and that trend will continue. Why? Corporate bottom lines; the same reason there are less R-rated movies. Producers will avoid nudity in order to sell a perceived additional percentage of tickets to a wider audience. I don’t agree with it, but it’s what I see happening.

  • Jason says:

    I think it’s definitely possible that there may be more nudity in the near future. I mean, Hair isn’t the only recent Broadway show to feature nudity; Equus was recently on Broadway and I bet the producers of that show (not that there was anything wrong with the production) wouldn’t have sold half as many tickets if that play didn’t feature a nude Daniel Radcliffe. You can bet there were a ton of young girls (and probably guys) who wanted to see it for the shear novelty of getting to see Harry Potter’s “Magic Wand”. We all know too well that the bottom line is selling tickets, and if a gimmick is perceived as being a sure fire seat filler, smart producers will find one to work with!
    Personally, I have yet to see a stage play featuring nudity, so for me, it might still come across as a bit of a shock. I’d love to experience Hair firsthand and see for myself how viewing nudity live as opposed to in the movies feels (it also depends on who I’d bring with me…obviously it would be a totally different experience if I brought a close friend rather than say, my Grandmother!)

  • Orlando says:

    I really don’t think it matters all that much anymore! I mean you are so caught up in the actual show that most of the time you don’t even realize it!

  • Micah says:

    Nudity is less shocking now than in the past, but it still needs to be treated carefully. I don’t see it increasing or decreasing radically on broadway — I imagine we’ll continue to get a show or two every couple of years.

  • Mary says:

    “I think on-stage nudity is disgusting, shameful and damaging to all things American. But if I were 22 with a great body, it would be artistic, tasteful, patriotic and a progressive religious experience.” – Shelley Winters US movie actress (1922 – 2006)
    Just having some fun with you all! 🙂 I agree with poster Susan, though, that when used well, nudity can have a powerful impact on the audience. When used, poorly, it is just another shtick.

  • jim says:

    I think it’s fine if it’s not gratuitous, is integral to plot and provided it’s kept on the stage…and not in the audience, naked matinee ladies would gross me out

  • Nudity in the theater has definitely been a problem in the past, but I feel that the people of this gerneration and most from the last feel that it shouldn’t be an issue. Nudity is shown in many other plays such as Equus, Naked Boys Singing, and O Calcutta, to name a few. But nudity is shown in Hair to show how much these people struggled to fight what they believed in and how far they would go to get what they think is right. It’s something that should never be taken out of the production because if it wasn’t in the show you wouldn’t walk out of the theater with all the knowledge and love that it brings. I ‘ve never seen the real Hair, I’ve only seen the movie, but it has always been a dream of mine to see it, ever since I was little, I would always listen to my mom’s Hair soundtrack. When it came back to broadway I told my Grandma I wanted to see it (because my mom cant afford it and I’m 16) and she said “isn’t that the one where they’re all naked?” And she wouldn’t take me, just because of nudity. Obviously her generation was the generation who did not approve of it, but my best friend and I really want to see it more than anything and hes never seen a broadway show before, imagine this being his first broadway expeirience, wouldn’t it be magical?

  • Theo says:

    Personally, I don’t find the nudity as shocking as I used to but I am occasionally startled by it. (i.e. I recently attended a spooky off-Broadway production and at the very end one of the poltergeists transformed into a chalk white, nude girl. I definitely was not expecting this ending at all!) Still, people barely focus on it these days. As long as it’s appropriate to the scene then nudity will be a part of future plays.

  • sushi105 says:

    If it is used to advance the story/play/musical it doesn’t bother me. Someone mentioned that scene in TAKE ME OUT, I was a little titillated by that too, but recently Carey Mulligan was naked in the Bergman play and it was not too weird, except for her character and her character’s brother. It just depends.

  • Danny Decker says:

    Nudity on Broadway is something rarely seen in shows nowadays. However, we can look back at shows like Spring Awakening, and remember how shocked audiences were seeing the show before it became as big as it is today. Hair, however, has nudity to express the time period involving equality and hippies, but even though the nudity has its reasoning, parents of young children may still be concerned or disgusted. For instance, a friend of mine saw the show when it first opened on Broadway in 1969, and the scene made her father so furious that he made comments and complaints to other people once the show was through. However, One of my other close friends took her 13-year-old daughter to see the show when it was on Broadway with Gavin Creel and she seemed okay with the fact that there were nude cast members onstage! I think that people understand and come to the theatre knowing that there will be nudity. I also think we theatregoers may soon see a few shows that have atleast one nude scene in the production because over the years, Broadway has changed into a place for more mature, and understanding audiences.

  • Z says:

    I think it’s still a shock but not as much of a conversational piece – I’ll never forget the gasps in the recent revival of South Pacific headed into “Wash That Man” with the brief nudity gag. It’ll always goose an audience.

  • Aaron says:

    I am inclined to say that nudity in the theatre is very subject to the audiences. Some will be offended and others will find it artistic and compelling. I’m not sure it’s changed to much as a whole. With censorship on the rise and “family values” being thrust upon the general public, I feel like the use of nudity, as of late, has been pulled back some. With stakes even higher, due to the economy, appealing to a wider audience is less risky and more of a guarantee that a show will sell. Which means, risking the use of nudity may cut out a portion of potential ticket buyers.
    Not sure if that’s even applicable. Heck, I’m an actor…for me, I’d be alright with doing a nude scene or even a sex scene on stage if it was pertinent to the plot of the show and not for gratuitous notions. Granted, not sure how willing an audience would be to see a short, chubby guy walking around naked on stage. Ha ha ha.
    Now what if I were to say I was nude while commenting on this? Is that shocking?
    I’m not really…or am I?

  • Porsche says:

    I think it can be used for shock value, but it’s always better when integral to the action of the play.

  • Jeryl M. says:

    I don’t think nudity in the theater is shocking these days as long as it serves a purpose. I think if you just started having a nude scene in almost every play for no reason other then just to have one like they do in so many movies it would not only be shocking, but offensive.

  • Tony Perry says:

    Context is everything! Nudity in some plays, such as “Six Degrees of Separation” or “Children of a Lesser God” truly served both the characters and their stories. But at times, the recent “High” comes to mind, it’s easy to see why it was included in the production, but when all was said and done, felt kind of gratuitous. Not saying it was unnecessary, but the way a nude scene is staged also is part of the storytelling. I don’t think the FACT of nudity shocks audiences anymore, but good storytelling can certainly elevate a nude scene into more than just a bunch of naked folks on stage.

  • connie carpenter says:

    As long as I do not go with my Mom

  • Mad Cow says:

    As an “out” recreational nudist myself, I think it’s AWESOME that we are pushing the boundaries and limits of art both onstage and in film. Kids are seeing R rated movies all the time, they have seen it all, trust me. Why should be the stage be treated any different? We Americans are so far behind a civilized society such as in Europe where sex and the body image is openly discussed and displayed. This country was founded on freedom of religion and conservatism and yet we have seemed to regress from whence our founding fathers came. The more we implement that it’s OK for our bodies and minds to be in our natural state of appreciation, the better! If you haven’t ever gone innocently nude at a resort, a pool, a beach, you are seriously missing out! It’s amazing, and NO I don’t have the most rockin’ body neither! HAIL to the HAIR!! (or NO hair, if you shave lol)

  • Duncan says:

    As a playwright who has included nudity in a bunch of my plays, audience reaction is a tricky thing. Some people can be bothered by it, some not. I have a friend who asks ahead of time, because though she wants to support my work, can’t stand to see a naked man on stage. I’m pleased to say that I’ve never had any performers feel that the nudity was gratuitous; it’s always linked to story and character.

  • gj cabana says:

    “Is nudity in the theater still shocking?”
    Public nudity is always shocking, even if it’s just the Naked Cowboy in his tighty-whiteys. With HAIR, the nudity is a political statement, the brazen defiance of societal rules, and for that, the shock goes beyond our Puritanical morals of society and strikes a chord in our souls. (I saw HAIR in CP but would love, love, love to see it in the theatre, please pick me this time! PLEASE!!!)
    “Is it more accepted nowadays?”
    People pretend to be more accepting, but when shows like EQUUS, THE FULL MONTY, etc. sellout the first five rows before the rest of the house sellsa single seat just goes to show how “tittilation” still sells over form and content.
    “Do you think there will be more of it in the future, or less?”
    Depends on how many theaters the Disney folks take over, but hopefully it will come back at a little faster rate than usual. But only if its appropriate to the play’s themes rather than exploiting waxed bodies (re: Naked Cowboy).

  • Jeremy says:

    I attended the original original Broadway production of Hair with a group of students from Newport News, VA who were with us as part of a short-term exchange program with my school. After the show, one very sweet and innocent girl shocked us by saying “I thought there was suppose to be a nude scene.” She really didn’t notice it. Proving perhaps, that people “see” what they want to see. (Or don’t see what they don’t want to see.)

  • shashan angelsweat says:

    Nudity is used in the theatre to express personal freedom or release from societies pressures. Example: Equus. It seems that even in off and off-off broadway nudity is ALWAYS used to relate this to the audience.I remember when Oh Calcutta ran to express this freedom release of sexual mores. I don’t think it’s that shocking anymore and there should be new ways to express personal freedoms besides getting naked and standing alone upstage in a spotlight. Maybe ,simply bowing off a sparkler or something.Whoopee.

  • Jackie says:

    When a show opens on Broadway with a nude scene, it draws in a lot of media attention (the Equus revival, for example) because the bottom line is, it’s still taboo in our society. Yes, we see less and less clothing in ads and on TV, but rarely do we actually see anyone completely nude.
    As with many subjects of media conversation in American society, there is such an ambivalence towards this kind of thing (is it scandalous or just artistic expression?) that it is hard to gage whether this is a growing, shrinking, or stable trend.
    However, nudity, in my opinion, is much less shocking in the theatre nowadays than it was back when Hair first opened. With images in the media showing more skin and less clothing, and I feel that overall it is viewed and accepted more as creative expression than something jarring.

  • Ellen Dweck says:

    It’s startling when the nudity is not contextually compatible with what’s happening on stage–that’s when it’s gratuitous and offputting. But the use of nudity in recent decades has been in keeping with the integrity of the scene (FRANKIE & JOHNNY, TAKE ME OUT, THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED, EQUUS)and becomes less noticeable. Yes, the mass nudity in TAKE ME OUT did “take me out” of the play for a few seconds, but after that it simply became a so-what part of the shower scene. Overall, as an audience, we’ve become inured to nudity after so much, er, exposure to it on premium cable, advertising, movies, etc. That must make revivals of YOU KNOW I CAN’T HEAR YOU WHEN THE WATER’S RUNNING pretty problematic (the joke hinging on a nude person’s actual appearance on stage!).

  • I think nudity in the theater is somewhat overused, as if the playwright doesn’t have it, then it isn’t a serious play. But, when used properly, like stage fights and stage blood, it can be rivetingly effective. i.e. Equus, mentioned above, The Elephant Man, and Bug, all to very different effects; shock, sweetness or scariness. Like every other theatrical convention, it should be used sparingly for the best results.

  • detomab@yahoo.com says:

    To some people nudity on stage will always be shocking. It is always going to sell more tickets due to the “curiosity” factor. But, if the nudity is appropriate then the audience reaction will be more about the context of the show and the nuduty wil be an afterthought. Nudity is more acceptable nowadays but will never be totally accepted,just like in movies.

  • Christina says:

    I think it is still shocking in theater but it is more acceptable. It personally doesn’t bother me but i feel there is a time and place for it. Not every show should have it though.

  • Nancy Paris says:

    I saw HAIR on Broadway back in the ’70s. I spent the whole first act eagerly awaiting the scene I had heard so much about. It came and it went, and I was very disappointed that the artistic lighting made it so difficult to SEE anything. Years later I found myself in a Vegas-style show minus my top. It was pretty funny seeing the audience reaction. Let’s face it people, you won’t see any items up there on stage that you haven’t seen before. Unless someone has three…of anything. Now that would be crossing the line.

  • Ellie says:

    Nudity, I think, only works when it is essential to the plot or emotional journey of the characters. If it is simply used for shock value, what is the point? I saw Hair when it was on broadway last, and the nudity only made the stunning act one closer more stunning. The lights are done in such a way that the nudity (which is somewhat hidden) seems more like a metaphor than an in-your-face shocker.

  • John Shorter says:

    I never saw the original HAIR production, but I had a chance to see a gypsy preview of THE GRAPES OF WRATH with John Malkovich and Gary Sinise. I took my 7 year old daughter and a friend took his daughter, who was about the same age. We sat in the front mez. with the girls sitting in front of us in the front row. When Gary and John got naked, I thought the girls were going to fall over the rail and my friend and I were dying behind them. The girls just accepted it as part of the production. However, we suggested they not mention it to their mothers.
    Today, if a parent knows what will happen in the production, (we didn’t) than it becomes a judgement call based on the maturity of the child and parent.

  • Eva says:

    I’m shocked when there isn’t nudity in the theater.
    Bring it on or should I say off.

  • Michael L. says:

    My community either isn’t ready for nudity, or the powers-that-be won’t give them the chance to experience it. Alas, in sixty years of theatre at the university where I teach, there has never been a nude scene or moment. When I directed Big Love here, the character who takes a bath had to do so in her undergarments. We haven’t produced Wit (even though many of us want to), because the nude scene would be changed/censored, and we refuse to do a disservice to such an excellent play.
    When nudity is an integral part of the storytelling, it is both appropriate and necessary. When it’s gratuitous, it harms the integrity of our art.
    One day, I trust my community will embrace all forms of expression.

  • ALi says:

    Nudity is here to stay… sex sells! I’ve seen some really terrible shows sell out due to the promise of a little skin. It’s no longer shocking, but then again, I live in NYC where anything goes.
    Something funny: A friend of mine told me about an amateur production of “Hair” that he saw in CT a few years ago. The big moment came and everyone disrobed… and were completely hairless!!! Men had man-scaped, women were waxed; it was the most hairless “Hair” ever seen! Someone (ahem, Mr. Director) missed the point….

  • Kerri Martin says:

    I don’t think nudity is as big a deal anymore–Just look at how casually people named the tickets at Spring Awakening as either “butt” or “boob” seats!

  • WC says:

    I don’t think nudity in theatre is a big deal anymore. I have already seen a few productions with full frontal nudity.
    That said, I don’t think there would be a lot more nudity in the future. The nudity should serve the story. Audiences are not going to rush to a show just because they can see a naked actor. If the nakeness is not an organic result of the narrative, it might backfire and hurt a show’s word-of-mouth.

  • Mirirai Sithole says:

    I definitely think that nudity no longer shocks but rather, it intrigues. Especially when a Harry Potter fan can see their beloved wizard “disrobe”…literally!
    I personally think that nudity should be embraced and it probably helps out those costumers! :p

  • Leslie Rosenberg says:

    Nudity is fine on stage, when it’s in the audience- not so much!!

  • Alistair Hunter says:

    Nudity is an acceptable form or artistic expression in theatre. I saw the original HAIR. The nude scene worked. I am working on a script now that does have a male nude scene in it. In my view it adds nothing to the scene, or the play, or the audiences experience. The playwright has allowed me to change the script in any way that I believe makes it a more powerful experience for the audience. This nude scene will be cut and the scene adapted by me. Also, nudity isn’t about seeing pretty bodies. There is a strong artistic argument to use an appropriate nude scene with a vulnerable older actor. Visual artists and arts universities, schools, and colleges, designated the artist’s interpretation of the image of the nude human body as the critical element in the evaluation of an artist’s work for admission to schools, advanced work, scholarships, etc. That visual arts interpretation of the human body allows unique visions and work. Theatre arts is also a visual art, and the nude image must provide a unique vision, and propel the action of the play and give birth to a character, a scene, the theme, the vision … The play itself. Alistair Hunter

  • Ed says:

    I would feel better qualified to answer this question if I won two tickets to a HAIR perf. But here goes… Stage nudity can still startle and titillate, but I think audiences, in general, have grown more accepting of it, and debate its appropriate and successful use in a production not whether it is shameful or pornographic. And I think credit goes to playwrights and actors who manage to convey characters’ naked emotions clothed or nude.

  • Cory D says:

    O Nudity ~ Really? I think the shock value of it has gone the way of the hoop skirt. When life presents nudity, there ya go, and it’s the same on stage. I mean, after all, nothing happens in life that you can’t find on a Broadway stage and vice versa ~
    If the scene that requires nakedness is a violent one, well then the nudity isn’t the shock is it? I think watching actual intercourse might shock some, but that’s really a different kind of theatrical adventure if ya get my meaning…

  • Bette H says:

    Nudity in the theater is less shocking, unless it is a person who is sitting in the audience, and these days that probably would not shock many either. LOL!
    Times have changed and so have people. Just look at what people are watching on television and at the movies. Look at all the video games the kids are playing. Society is more exposed to violence, profanity and nudity, just from that entertainment media.
    Live theater, will probably not have any more or any less nudity. Most nudity is done in a tasteful and artist way, whether it is like making a statement at the end of Hair’s Act 1 or having a fun time at Naked Boys Singing. Is it for everyone? Possibly not, there will always prudes around, but they can just go to another show.

  • J.S. Fauquet says:

    I think that it depends on where you are in the country. I recently graduated from college, and we did Hair at my university. We did not do the nudity, because it was in a small theatre and the director was worried that in the age of cell phone cameras, people would take pictures. I think that it was that and also that the university wouldn’t have been comfortable with it. So, I think that it completely depends on location. Location, location, location.

  • Rosie says:

    Nudity on stsge is not such a big deal any more…especially if it is relevant to the scene. I think it has become quite commonplace, especially in New York–rarely does anyone bat an eye over it. As for whether or not we will see an increase is “flesh flashing,” maybe a little more skin will be shown as time goes on.

  • Rosie says:

    Nudity on stsge is not such a big deal any more…especially if it is relevant to the scene. I think it has become quite commonplace, especially in New York–rarely does anyone bat an eye over it. As for whether or not we will see an increase in “flesh flashing,” maybe a little more skin will be shown as time goes on.

  • Randi says:

    I think nudity on stage is shocking depending on the audience. Overall, I do think it is more acceptable now than in the past.

  • Ari says:

    In some ways I think the country has become even more prudish and conservative than it was twenty years ago. No, most theatregoers in NY this summer aren’t shocked by the nudity in Hair, because it’s a well known piece.

  • jamisa says:

    I guess coming from my neck of the woods nudity on stage is still considered shocking. However because you can basically do anything but have sex on stage it’s not to me nor to the generation. I guess because the days of reality tv have really open the way to alot of images being acceptable. I think the real question should be why is it acceptable for a woman’s breast to be shown on stage but not a man’s penis. That happens alot and I feel that it’s a double standarded. Granted there are some shows that show it, however a woman’s breast is first to be shown when it comes to nudity. ALWAYS!!!!

  • Courtney says:

    The nudity in Hair doesn’t really shock anymore, b/c it’s so famous for it, people are expecting it. I think other nudity in theater, while people may be initially surprised by it, and talk about it, I don’t think we’re going to see people offended by it as much as in the past.

  • Ryan B says:

    I don’t find it shocking in Hair anymore as people come in expecting it. I suppose that in the moment nudity in theatre can still be surprising, but there is certainly not the same amount of outside attention placed on these moments.

  • Hillary says:

    I don’t think nudity is as shocking in theater now, as it was in the past. It also depends on whether the nudity is in a well known piece like Hair or if people aren’t expecting it. Personally I think nudity should only be used if it is integral to the story line, and not just thrown in for unnecessary shock value.

  • Beki says:

    The nudity in Hair feels natural in the moment. I don’t believe it is shocking. If someone is actually shocked, they aren’t getting the right experience out of the show.
    I have no issue with nudity on stage, IF it flows in the show. When I saw Spring Awakening, the nudity seemed like it was there just to shock. The show wanted a reaction from the audience. While we knew the actors were of age, seeing characters that were barely teenagers have simulated sex on stage was unnecessary, and a bit uncomfortable. On the other hand, the nudity in Avenue Q was also there to illicit a reaction, but it was hilarious.

  • Alex Jorth says:

    We’re so bombarded with skin these days … I’m surprised everyone isn’t numb to it by now. Although, I don’t have kids … I imagine that would change my feeling slightly.

  • David says:

    I think the nudity in Hair is tasteful, and will never go out of style.

  • Jacob P. says:

    I think that nudity does and does not matter. Obviously, this depends on the audience of the show. For shows that are looking to have big audiences and successful tours, you cannot simply consider a Tri-State audience. While the more theater-savvy may not mind nudity, to pull audiences from the Bible Belt and the Midwest you can’t overlook their views on modesty.
    Also, it’s important to remember that shows aren’t just about the audience but also about the employees. For actors, nudity will remain a big deal even if the audience doesn’t mind. Being cast in a role known for nudity can have an impact on your future career, for better or for worse. Moreover, nudity surely requires adjustments for costume and makeup designers. After all, even when the actors are naked onstage, nature can’t do all of the work! So nudity isn’t something to take lightly.
    That said, I don’t think producers or creators should shy away from it. If nudity has a place in a show, then let it remain!

  • Jared W says:

    I don’t think nudity (or any controversial content, for that matter) is nearly as big a deal as it used to be. Just look at the ever-relaxing standards in advertising, TV, and movies. If it serves the story and is tastefully executed (like it is in “Hair”), the audience will accept it without batting an eye. If it is poorly done or gratuitous, I think most audiences will see it for the cheap attempt at getting attention it is, and be thoroughly unimpressed.
    For this reason, I don’t think the amount of nudity will increase or decrease. Most simply don’t require it, and although some wildly misguiding productions have made their way to the stage, I do think that most of the time, the people creating theatre are attempting to serve the story. Nudity may get people talking, but ultimately has little impact on a show’s box office. After all, those audiences who just want to see naked bodies have plenty of places to go that “specialize” in that department.

  • Briannah B. says:

    I think nudity is alright… where it’s approiate. Such as in a performance (on-stage, in a movie, etc.). If there’s a story line and it’s for the general public and is not expressed with the intention to offend or scar others for life, I don’t see why it shouldn’t be accepted; Especially in todays society. With all of the half naked and scantily clad men and women on advertisements, nudity is being forced upon people in everyday life, therefore, if nudity was presented during an actual show, people should really just be used to the nations nudity situation.

  • RB says:

    Nudity, Schmoodity–it’s all so ordinary these days in the NYC theater scene! I can imagine seeing more “junk” in the future, but that might just refer to the script!

  • Cathie A. says:

    I don’t think that nudity in theater is as shocking now, as when HAIR first opened. It was groundbreaking at the time, but nudity is more common place now in “mainstream” entertainment.
    I brought my almost 16 yr old daughter to see HAIR last summer [and to dance ON STAGE! How cool was that!!] and found that the nudity was done in good taste, with dimmed lighting and really made a statement. [why was it easier to accept the death of a young man due to war, than to look upon a naked body?] It was totally appropriate for the context and the audience in attendance.
    Today’s audience is generally better informed, with the advent of quick, easy access to production websites which usually provide ‘warnings’ as to explicit content.
    As long as the story line supports it, nudity isn’t quite so shocking anymore.

  • Tristan says:

    If you got it, flaunt it. The entire cast (and their characters) are beautiful.

  • Nudity that makes a statement is probably no longer effective, and that’s the naked truth. Titillation in entertainment is getting old, though perhaps a nude body would still make an effective statement if it were grandma dropping her drawers.
    As long as the actors are comfortable pulling it off, and it adds to the story, I say go for it. In fact, if nudity were taken more casually as a normal part of life, I would expect that to be reflected in the theater.

  • Mike says:

    Nudity? Like everything in the theatre, if it helps the audience to understand the story, it will be accepted, not always loved but not protested either. The following is a true story – names are removed…
    The theatre that I have managed since 1985 had a history of commissioning and then producing new plays. In 1988, a budding east coast playwright was selected for a commission. He was an advertising copy writer to “pay his bills.” We thought of ourselves as kind of reversing the whole commissioning process because once a playwright showed promise, we offered and paid them to write their “dream play” (one that they they had always wanted to write but didn’t because they didn’t feel anyone would produce it); we also guaranteed a full production Our theory was that the “paid to write your dream play with a guaranteed full production” would get us a much better script; then say someone writing something “to be produced”. Silly us.
    Well, this commission always wanted to do a murder mystery. The contracts were signed and the production deadlines were established. When the script arrived, it had a ton of nudity indicated. I was surprised at the indication, not at it’s inclusion but it felt “gratuitous” and our theory about the commissioning process had it’s first real challenge. A contract is a contract and we were going ahead with it.
    The playwright arrived and over our first dinner together, I asked him about the inclusion. He said that it seemed to him that all the new plays in New York indicated to him that if his play was ever going to be produced in New York, it needed to have lot’s of nudity (this was 1988). He asked if I felt that our midwest audience would be put off by the nudity and I explained that if it helped them to understand his story that I felt that they would be OK with it. He reworked the script on his own during the production and he removed what he felt was “gratuitous” and the audience did not bolt, offended. (Remember this was in 1988.)
    It was a good lesson for all of us and I have found it is still true today. If it helps them to understand the story, they will be OK with it.

  • Melissa N. says:

    I think nudity is fine in theatre and even movies if it’s not gratuitous. If it’s there for a reason. If some girl is just taking off her clothes for no reason then it’s just not necessary. In HAIR’s case, I’ve heard of it done without nudity (in schools and community theatres and whatnot) and I guess it can work, but I feel you need to have the nudity in order to really understand the times.

  • Rose B says:

    Nudity is here to stay, and I believe it will become more and more extreme. Most people are used to it in the theater and few express discontent; as such, we can expect that there will be more to come.

  • Mike M says:

    I don’t think nudity in the theater is particularly shocking anymore, for better or worse. And I think we’ll see more of it as time goes on.

  • Rafi Levavy says:

    Nudity is definitely less shocking now than it used to be – it has become more mainstream/less shocking. As has porn, sex, etc. In order to be shocking nowadays, the envelope has to be pushed a lot further.

  • Ray says:

    Nah, nudity isn’t shocking anymore. It does need to remain motivated by the story and have it be in context(sex scene, “oops, I dropped my towel”, etc). Though it always sells because it’s still considered controversial. Do stars who go nude on stage get more props (not stage props, more like “mad respect”) than stars who get nude in the movies? Hmm…

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Ken Davenport
Ken Davenport

Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer

I'm on a mission to help 5000 shows get produced by 2025.

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