‘Allegro’ tells a musical medical tale
Through mid-December, fans of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musicals have a rare chance to see what’s considered the Broadway hit-makers’ biggest flop. It’s also an unusual opportunity to see a musical about medicine: “Allegro” tells the story of a physician, Dr. Joseph Taylor Jr., whose father and grandfather were also doctors.
Young Dr. Taylor joins his father’s small-town practice, only to be lured to a fancy private practice in Chicago at his wife’s urging. Much of the second act involves Taylor unhappily catering to his wealthy, worried-well patients in the fastpaced city while longing for the simple world he left behind. In the revival, each member of the cast plays an instrument, thus supplying their own orchestra.
Classic Stage Co., which is mounting the show off-Broadway through Dec. 14 in New York City, has garnered some good reviews, with the New York Times guardedly declaring it a “newly glowing interpretation of the lackluster 1947 musical” and Time Out New York declaring it a “rare, elegant revival.”
“Allegro” followed Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first two collaborations, the smash hits “Oklahoma!” and “Carousel.” By contrast, “Allegro” received a lukewarm reception on the Great White Way in 1947, running just over 300 performances. The show’s use of a Greek-style chorus was considered experimental at the time, and the use of the chorus to narrate some of the action has inspired descriptions of the show as a kind of musical “Our Town.”
The character of Dr. Joseph Taylor Jr., seated on the floor and played by Claybourne Elder, talks with his father, Dr. Joseph Taylor Sr., played by Malcolm Gets.