1994 City Center

Rodgers & HammersteinAllegro

As a part of New York City Center’s concert series Encores!, Allegro was revived under the direction of Tony Award nominee Susan H. Schulman in a brief four-performance run. Led by Stephen Bogardus as Joseph Taylor, Jr., the cast also featured Karen Ziemba, Christine Ebersole, Jonathan Hadary and, known for originating the role of Ado Annie in the original production of Oklahoma!, Celeste Holm as Grandma Taylor.

Stephen Holden of The New York Times recalled this concert‘s opening night in his review, recognizing Allegro’s “rich historical resonance” before mentioning Stephen Sondheim’s introduction to that evening’s performance. Sondheim, who worked as a production assistant on the original production of Allegro, was Oscar Hammerstein’s protégé from a very young age. He has since described the show’s innovations as “an attempt to use epic theatre in contemporary musical theatre. It used a Greek chorus, and tried to tell the story of a life, not through events but through generalities. This is now what would be called a Brechtian approach.” Later in life, Sondheim would admit that, with shows like Follies and Merrily We Roll Along, he has spent his entire career trying to get Allegro right.