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The cast of rock musical revival Hair are seen in a dress rehearsal in March. ((Peter Kramer/Associated Press) )

An exuberant revival of '60s rock musical Hair has won over Broadway, two years after an earlier outdoor production in Central Park delighted fans in New York.

The new production is the toast of the Great White Way following its official premiere Tuesday night.

Critics have hailed director Diane Paulus and choreographer Karole Armitage's energetic, colourful, galvanizing production for infusing new life to the musical created by Gerome Ragni, James Rado and Canadian composer Galt MacDermot.

The Associated Press dubbed the hippie-era musical "the liveliest show in town," while Newsday raved that the revival "finds a modern pulse of fury and hope without betraying the specifics of a period piece about Vietnam and all flavours of liberation."

Hair is "the most exciting new show in town, not so much a breath of spring air as a jolt of adrenaline," according to a Bloomberg review. In addition, "for all its references to hippies, Vietnam, free love and the revolution, [Hair] feels utterly of the moment in its exuberance, its power to involve and, in Diane Paulus's entrancing production, to move us."

Many critics also had praise for the show's young cast, which includes Hamilton, Ont.'s Caissie Levy.

"[Hair's] youthful ensemble puts out so much blazing energy it's no wonder that half the audience feels compelled to join them onstage for the joyous bacchanalian finale," said the Hollywood Reporter.

"The performers inhabit their roles with such conviction it's hard to believe that they weren't even born when the show premiered more than 40 years ago."

'The show is being [staged] at a time when Americans and the world needs to hear its message.'

—Hair cast member Caissie Levy

Levy, who portrays university student and activist Sheila, said she feels the musical has arrived at a particularly relevant time.

"The show is being [staged] at a time when Americans and the world needs to hear its message," she told CBC News.

"Having Obama in office is a huge step forward. Hopefully the war will end," she added.

U.S. entertainer and avid theatre fan Rosie O'Donnell expressed a similar sentiment about the popular musical from the red carpet on Tuesday night.

"Listen, we're in the middle of a war. There are American men and women dying every day. This is a very, very poignant and relevant story and it holds up beautifully," she said.

Hair continues though September at New York's Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

With files from the Associated Press