A Rodgers and Hammerstein Experiment is Revived

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 'Allegro' at the Classic Stage Company in the East Village.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II were riding high in 1947 on the successes of Oklahoma! and Carousel. For their next show they tried something with a Greek chorus and a stage with no sets and few props. The subject matter was unusual, too, a man whose story ends with him in a state of existential confusion. The show, Allegro, was not a hit. But now, director John Doyle has revived Allegro in a production for Classic Stage Company.

New York Times theater critic Charles Isherwood considers why Allegro didn’t work then, how well it works now and what its contributions are to the evolution of American musical theater.