Gerome Ragni (standing center), one of the show's lyricists, played the original Berger in both the off-Broadway and Broadway productions.
James Rado and Gerome Ragni (lyricists), and
Galt McDermot (composer).
Ragni and Rado threw themselves into East Village life,
back in the 60's, in hopes of writing authentically about the
hippy culture they found.
McDermot, on the other hand,
lived in New Jersey, wore ties, and had a family.
He'd take their lyrics home...and write the melodies in
deepest, darkest Suburbia.
The original production, 1967...
done off-Broadway at Joseph Papp's Public Theatre,
the first non-Shakespearean production
ever done at that venue.
...and a recent revival.