A '60s Celebration of the Love Generation
Created by Roger Bean
Be sure to wear some flowers in you hair for Summer of Love, a groovy new musical from the creator of The Marvelous Wonderettes.
When a runaway bride discovers the countercultural revolution of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, with a little help from the hippies and dropouts of Golden Gate Park, she comes to realize she has to make her own kind of music! This hippie, trippy musical features the powerful music of the late 1960s by some of the most influential artists of the love generation: The Mamas and the Papas, Donovan, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, and many more. With such hits as "Crystal Blue Persuasion," "Make Your Own Kind of Music," and, of course, "San Francisco," you’ll love this flower power, feel-good musical experience!
It is summer of 1967 at the edge of the Haight-Ashbury, near Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Our tribe of hippies spills out of a psychedelic VW bus (Grazing in the Grass) to proselytize and prepare for the evening’s ‘music pow-wow in the park.’ Holly, an outsider, rushes on in the middle of the revelry, suitcase in hand and dressed in full wedding regalia. River & Saige welcome her to the park (Everyday People), inviting her to stay with the Tribe for the evening’s festival. Holly decides to stick around as she tries to figure out what she’s running from (Valley of the Dolls). Mama, the matriarch of this ragtag family, helps guide Holly on her new journey (Make Your Own Kind of Music), even though Holly is still unable to explain her reasons for showing up in the park. As the tribe gathers around to show support for Holly on her quest, army vet Rufus leads the tribe in a raucous affirmation of their beliefs and political views (War), and the Tribe chases after a departing Grayline Bus Tour to continue their protest march. Janis and Daisy stay behind to recruit Holly into their “Theatrical House of Mercy,” as they expound on their personal vision of peace throughout the land (One Tin Soldier). Holly next meets Coyote, a runaway from Salk Lake City, who helps instruct her on the many different kinds of love in the world (Somebody to Love). The entire Tribe joins in, but the celebration is short-lived as Holly’s jilted fiancé Curtis unexpectedly interrupts the proceedings and attempts to drag Holly home. As square a person as Holly has described to her new friends, Curtis professes his stilted version of love for Holly (This Guy's in Love with You). When Holly runs away from him again, Curtis blames the Tribe, and River counters with a blistering take on Curtis’ claim to authority (Signs). Curtis looks for solace from Mama, who in turn tries to open his mind to new adventures and avenues of learning (Do You Believe in Magic?). Curtis’ entrance into this new world has helped Holly articulate her reasons for leaving, and she now reappears to explain to Curtis why she left him at the altar (Different Drum). She has decided to stay in San Francisco and become a “proud member of the United States of Hashbury,” and begs Curtis to go back home to the life he knew before (Let Me Be).
Later that evening the Tribe sets up for the music pow-wow (San Francisco [Flowers in Your Hair]), and our flower children circulate throughout the theater passing out flowers and fliers to the evening’s event. As the concert winds down, the Tribe wraps up in blankets and shawls to sleep in various places around the park (Dream a Little Dream). Curtis arrives in the middle of the night to search for Holly and is confronted by Mama, eager to show Curtis a new direction in life (Get Together). Curtis leaves as the Tribe wakes for breakfast, and Saige conveys her growing discontent concerning her relationship with River & Daisy (Piece of My Heart). Holly watches the escalating fight between this threesome, realizing that love is not as simple or easy as River had suggested earlier (One). When the Tribe members return from their free breakfast at the Digger Truck, Dizzy returns with a special dessert for everyone: small tabs of a newly acquired hallucinogen (acid), purchased with money stolen from Holly’s purse. Holly is curious about the drug, but Mama takes her away to leave that experience for another time. Curtis, on the other hand, returns in the middle of the morning ritual (Crystal Blue Persuasion), and decides to join the Tribe in an attempt to find out what Holly and the rest of the Tribe are looking for. River helps take Curtis on the ride of his life (Spinning Wheel), and the entire stage throbs with the spinning lights, fog and projections of the inner workings of Curtis’ hallucinations as the acid takes effect (White Rabbit). At the height of the trip Curtis is left alone in his mind, vulnerable to the images and sounds of a hurtful society that his mind has shut out for the past decade (Darkness, Darkness). Holly appears at the end of Curtis’ long trip, contrite and anxious to take Curtis back to where she thinks he belongs. Now free from his earlier inhibitions, Curtis has expanded his views and hopes to stay and make a new life in the city with Holly and her new friends (You've Made Me So Very Happy). The Tribe explodes in celebration as a new mind is opened, and a new truth is learned (Share the Land).