70 Years Later: Look Back at Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro on Broadway

Archival Photos   70 Years Later: Look Back at Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Allegro on Broadway
 
The musical opened at the Majestic Theatre October 10, 1947.
Allegro_Broadway_Production_Photo_1947_Souvenir program_HR.jpg
Souvenir program ©NYPL for the Performing Arts

The groundbreaking musical Allegro, by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, opened at the Majestic Theatre October 10, 1947. Agnes de Mille staged the production, which starred Lisa Kirk, John Battles, and Roberta Jonay. The most highly anticipated musical of the 1940s, sold 250,000 tickets and had $750,000 in the box office before it even opened.

Flip through photos of the original production below:

The sets were abstract and minimalist, the chorus served the same dramatic purpose as the Greek equivalent (comment and interpretation), and a symphony orchestra provided much of the music. Using such non-traditional measures to achieve a dramatic effect was not common for a Broadway show at the time, so the devices provided a rare outlet for less realistic and naturalistic theatre. Although some reviewers thought the work unclear, several critics are fascinated. Robert Coleman of the Daily Mirror states that "Perfection and great are not words that are to be lightly used...but Allegro is perfection, great." The show ran 315 performances.

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