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Covey Theatre Company's mainstage shows take a final bow with 'Hair,' the musical

The Covey TheatreCompany will perform the 1960's musical “Hair” at the BevardStudio at the Oncenter in Syracuse. The show marks the end of the mainstage performances for the theatre company.




https://vimeo.com/133185293">'Hair' the musical performed by the Covey Theatre Company from https://vimeo.com/cusetonightfilms">Cusetonight Films on Vimeo.

In 2010, Garrett Heater, the director of “Hair,” and two other co-founders agreed to start a nonprofit theatre company in Syracuse that would only last for five years.

“The one side of theatre that people don't see, and they shouldn't because that would take away the magic, is the intense background work that goes into putting up a show like 'Hair,'” Heater said.


Five years later, with 23 Syracuse Area Live Theater awards and countless sold out shows, “Hair” the musical, is the final mainstage show for the Covey Theatre Company. The show is about a group, called the “tribe,” of free-spirited, long-haired hippies of the counter culture in New York City during the Vietnam War. The themes of the show marked the end of one era and the beginning of a new way of thinking.


Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News


“They call it a revolutionary piece of theatre for a reason, it was tackling some really sensitive issues,” Heater said.


Such as protesting war, pollution, racism, sexism and homophobia.


“Change can happen with action and that's a really strong theme of this piece,” Heater said.


Credit Tom Magnarelli

 Jodi Bova-Mele is the choreographer and has performed in past Covey shows.


“Honestly, it makes me really, really sad. Really sad,” Bova-Mele said referring to the end of Covey Theatre.


“We decided right away we wanted kind of a gritty 'Hair,'" Bova-Mele said. "We didn't want it to look polished, we didn't want it to look choreographed. We wanted it all to look like these people just spontaneously came together and danced because the feeling is all within them.”


Bova-Mele admits when she first heard they were performing “Hair” she wasn't thrilled. She thought it was dated. But she realized the themes related to our current culture.


“Rebelling against the past generation and the mistakes that they made and wanting to carve out our own niche as a generation and wanting to be better than the people who came before,” Bova-Mele said.


Credit Tom Magnarelli
Chris Wiacek (center) plays the leader of the "tribe,” George Berger.

Chris Wiacek plays the leader of the tribe, George Berger.


“It's been hectic in a really good way,” Wiacek said.


The cast had about six weeks of rehearsals and he seems to have gotten into character.


“It's a great group of people, everyone is so free and so loving and I just feel so at home with everyone,” Wiacek said.


After “Hair,” which runs through July 18, The Covey Theatre will perform two original plays before the curtain closes on the company. “Lincoln's Blood” will be performed at the New York Fringe Festival this summer in New York City and “Lizzie Borden Took an Axe” will be at the Barnes-Hiscock Mansion in Syracuse this fall.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.