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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

A member of ‘Hair’s’ tribe tells her story

"Hair," a 2009 revival of the 1967 countercultural hit, is coming to the Marcus Center. Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus.

Imagine this was your daily schedule: wake up bright and early, do your homework, go to class, run to rehearsal, grab a bite to eat, perform on Broadway, and then come home and get ready to do it all over again.

Sound like a dream come true? For Cailan Rose, one of the members of the Broadway and national touring cast of “Hair,” it is.

Rose, who will be performing with the touring cast here in Milwaukee at the Marcus Center Feb. 22 to 27, made her Broadway debut in Miss Saigon at the tender age of 4, playing the child character Tam. Though Rose said she never truly had an “ah ha” moment, from a young age she has always known Broadway was the place for her.

“I always had an affinity for performing. I never really had a moment where I decided that that’s what I wanted to do. I just never thought of doing anything else,” Rose said. “It sort of just became the most important thing.”

Following a short break from Broadway to “be a kid,” she returned to the stage after high school and is still as in love with her career as ever.

“It’s, for me, the greatest job in the world,” Rose said. “I get to do something that I would do for free, and I get paid for it.”

Like every job, acting has its ups and downs. Some of the downs include “living out of a suitcase” and constant traveling. Adding to the stress is Rose’s decision to add college to her list of day-to-day activities. Currently a junior at Pace University in Manhattan, Rose is learning to juggle school and a Broadway career.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of deadlines and sometimes very stressful because you have to be on a flight, but you have to take a quiz at the same time,” Rose said. “At the end of the day … you have to remind yourself of the moment you got that phone call telling you that your dreams have come true.”

The revival of “Hair” is certainly among the more noteworthy musicals Rose could have been cast in. The original production, which premiered Off-Broadway in 1967 and on Broadway a year later, was a countercultural phenomenon, depicting sexuality, drugs, race and the Vietnam anti-war movement at what was an unprecedented level.

Rose, who plays one of the “tribe” members, said the major difference between being in the 2009 Broadway revival of “Hair” and the national tour is getting to see new people and places, but the experience is otherwise consistent.

“It’s kind of exciting, and it keeps you very fresh in ways, and you can never have the same show for too long because your venue’s changing and the people watching are changing, the weather is different, all those kinds of things,” Rose said.

Rose said the opportunity to be a tribe member in the production has created lasting memories, such as their closing night on Broadway, which included multiple curtain calls that evolved into a mini-dance party on the set.

She added that some of the show’s songs, like dance and chorus numbers “Walking in Space” and “Electric Blues,” stick out in her memory as well.

“It’s kind of silly, but I think it’s just fun,” Rose said. “(In ‘Electric Blues’) we’re just jumping around and welcoming the audience back and really thanking them for coming back for the second act.”

Rose said she hopes the show has left more than memories for the audience — she hopes it has altered their opinions as well. For her, being a part of that is what acting is all about.

“It’s a really incredible feeling to be on stage … changing people’s minds and outlooks and affecting people’s lives,” Rose said.

“Hair” will run at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 22 to 27. Tickets can be purchased at or at 414-273-7206.

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