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‘Hair’ Co-Creator James Rado Sadly Passed Away at 90


The co-creator of the groundbreaking rock musical Hair, James Rado passed away at the age of 90 on Tuesday evening June 21, 2022, in Manhattan. May he rest in peace.

The sad news was announced by his longtime close friend, publicist Merle Frimark. He died peacefully of cardio respiratory arrest in New York City, surrounded by family.

Rado, who was born James Alexander Radomski in Los Angeles on January 23, 1932, co-wrote the book and lyrics for the 1967 production Hair with Gerome Ragni, with music by Galt MacDermot.

'Hair' Co-Creator James Rado Sadly Passed Away at 90

His first Broadway show was Marathon ’33 in 1963. In 1966, he played Richard Lionheart in the Broadway production of The Lion in Winter by James Goldman, starring Rosemary Harris and Robert Preston.

He met Gerome Ragni in 1964 when the two acted in the off-Broadway play Hang Down Your Head and Die. Later, they were cast in the roles of Tolan and Tom in the Chicago company of Mike Nichols’ production of The Knack, by theater director Ann Jellicoe.

Rado and Ragni became close friends and began writing Hair together in late 1964. James explained, “We were great friends. It was a passionate kind of relationship that we directed into creativity, into writing, into creating this piece. We put the drama between us on stage.”

James said: “There was so much excitement in the streets and the parks and the hippie areas, and we thought if we could transmit this excitement to the stage it would be wonderful.”

He continued: “We hung out with them and went to their Be-Ins [and] let our hair grow.” Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical premiered off-Broadway in 1967 and opened on Broadway in April 1968.

After the success of Hair, Rado and Gerome went their separate ways for some time in the early 1970s.

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James Rado Passed Away from Cardio-Respiratory Arrest

Star of broadway’s groundbreaking rock musical James Rado passed away peacefully of cardio respiratory arrest in New York City, surrounded by family.

While Ragni and composer Galt MacDermot collaborated on Dude, James wrote a musical entitled The Rainbow Rainbeam Radio Roadshow. It opened Off-Broadway at the Orpheum Theater in 1972.

In 1974, James reunited with Ragni to co-write Sun, a show with music by Steve Margoshes based on a play by Joyce Greller with themes about the environment and pollution.

The musical was initially staged for backers in 1976, in a workshop, with appearances by Annie-Joe Edwards and Ruby Lynn Reyner.

Star Of broadway’s groundbreaking rock musical James Rado passed away peacefully of cardio respiratory arrest in New York City, surrounded by family.

Sun was presented at the Howl! Arts Project in 2011. Another version of Sun, written by Hair collaborator Galt MacDermot, was presented in concert in 1998.

Rado and Ragni would later write a musical together, again with Margoshes, titled Jack Sound and His Dog Star Blowing His Final Trumpet on the Day of Doom. Their show ran at La MaMa in 1978.

Since Ragni’s passing in 1991, Rado had been active in developing new productions of Hair, including the 11-city 1994 national tour which he directed, and the 2006 CanStage production in Toronto.

Since 2011, James was a creative consultant for the futuristic rock musical Barcode, written at a downtown Manhattan rock club in 2012 by the members of New York indie band Gladshot.

It premiered in August 2013 at the NY International Fringe Festival. On December 3, 2011, Hames performed songs from Barcode at Occupy Wall Street‘s Occupy Broadway.

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