I just came back from an amazing production of the musical, “HAIR,” adapted and directed by Corinne Goodman and performed by a spirited cast ranging in age from 6 to 19 at the BROOKLYN FREE SCHOOL. At once joyous and playful, socially conscious and full of heartfelt angst, these kids took on everything from war and greed to homework, all the while making direct eye contact, and even physical contact at times, with their audience, demonstrating a confidence I have rarely seen in a group of young people.
But then this is the Brooklyn Free School, where, under the direction of Alan Berger......confidence in kids is one of the founding principles of the self-described “democratic school.” That kids naturally want to learn and grow, and will do so in a supportive and cooperative rather than pressured and competitive environment, without arbitrary tests, grades, excessive control or – yes – homework, is a philosophy that delivers to students an unequivocal message: you are beautiful, gifted and whole as you are and we are there to facilitate you finding and being yourself.
Tonight, from the first moment, it felt like the performers were telling us that they believed in our goodness and beauty, too, like we in the adult world weren’t beyond redemption after all. We could yet become whole. When they sang the chorus of the opening song, I truly felt that maybe this really was the “dawning of the age of Aquarius,” again, perhaps a second chance after the one that seemed to have misfired in our society after the original production ran on Broadway forty years ago. And when this entire cast of diverse, sparkly, youthful trumpeters reunited for the finale, “Let The Sunshine In,” we stood in awesome ovation and gratitude.
Thank you all, cast and crew, staff and students, and every member of the BFS family, for your timely reminder of who we really are.

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