The same year that Harper College first opened its doors -- in temporary quarters at Elk Grove High School, no less -- "Hair" debuted in New York's East Village amid much controversy.

It was 1967, and writers James Rado and Gerome Ragni were two hippie dreamers influenced by the Summer of Love movement. They wrote about what they knew, and they knew about sex, drugs and the meditative ideology they employed to seek nirvana.

The Northwest suburbs were in many ways removed from the hippie counterculture embraced by Haight-Ashbury, the East Village and other neighborhoods. Still, some themes, such as racial tensions, environmental issues and war, are universal, regardless of time or place.

"We wanted to do something we could tie into the 50th anniversary of Harper College, and this seemed like a natural to me since 'Hair' is also celebrating its 50th anniversary," said Director Laura Pulio Colbert.

"It's a fascinating exploration of where we were in this country in 1967 when Harper was founded."

The Harper Ensemble Theatre Company will present "Hair," the original "American Tribal Love Rock Musical," Friday, Nov. 10, through Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Performing Arts Center on the college's main campus, 1200 W. Algonquin Road in Palatine.

Performances take place at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets are $15 for seniors and Harper students, faculty and staff; general admission is $18. For tickets, contact the Harper College Box Office at (847) 925-6100 or visit harpercollege.edu/boxoffice.

"Hair" tells the story of the "tribe," a group of politically active, longhair hippies of the "Age of Aquarius" living a bohemian life in New York City and fighting against conscription into the Vietnam War.

Winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical, "Hair" carries the same funk/rock sound that conquered the world of popular music 50 years ago. With explosive and revolutionary proclamations of profanity and hard rock, it shook the musical theater to its roots.

"Hair" is intended for adult audiences. It contains strong language, adult situations and partial nudity.