By Tanner Stransky
Updated May 11, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
Joan Marcus

While replacing even one cast member in a big Broadway production is risky, recasting an entire company of 32 performers seems crazy. But that’s what the producers of Hair did, as its original revival ”tribe” — led by Gavin Creel and Will Swenson — headed to London this spring to mount the ’60s lovefest there. The relative ease with which the new cast — featuring American Idol alums Diana DeGarmo (Sheila) and Ace Young (Berger), as well as Canadian pop singer Kyle Riabko (Claude) — step into the iconic roles is a testament to the potency of this particular production of Hair, which won the 2009 Tony award for best musical revival and was lauded for its extreme energy and touchy-feely nature. (Here’s our original review.)

Granted, these new tribe members don’t have the same mojo as Creel & Co. — but that’s probably just as well. Young tries really hard to prove he’s got that Berger buoyancy — almost to a much-too-much level — but by the end of the production, you realize his excitement is just plain cute. DeGarmo’s minimal acting skill is almost moot because her superstrong vocals are truly impressive, especially during Sheila’s solo ”Easy to Be Hard.” And as for Riabko, well, he’s the breakout of the bunch. He’s cute as a button, respects the weight of the role, and nearly matches Creel as the heart and soul of the show. One thing is clear here: A new cast can’t tame this Hair. B+

(Tickets: or 212-239-6200)