An original musical, ALLEGRO tells the story of an earnest country doctor, Joseph Taylor, Jr. and follows his life from cradle to adulthood. His journey -- both literal and moral – spans from small town to big city, and back again. The score is unconventional: fragments of song move in and out of the action like passing thoughts; melodies flit by in one scene only to take hold and blossom in the next. Major songs are given to minor characters, while the central character has comparatively little solo work. A chorus provides spoken commentary and sings aloud inner thoughts. Original director/choreographer Agnes de Mille’s extended ballet sequences are reflected in intriguing orchestral pieces.
ALLEGRO, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s fourth work together, debuted in 1947 preceded by the Broadway musicals OKLAHOMA! and CAROUSEL, and the film STATE FAIR. A somewhat controversial work, the show ran for a season and earned some rave reviews, but nevertheless was their first musical to be less than a blockbuster hit. ALLEGRO divided critics and challenged audiences with an unusual style of storytelling, and a groundbreaking approach to musical staging. In the words of Stephen Sondheim, the production marked “the first really good experimental show.”