Allegro at APAC

CurtainsUpat8
Understudy
joined:6/1/13
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 07:14pm
I was very happy to see Allegro at Astoria Performing Arts Center in Astoria. If you have never been to see a show there I HIGHLY recommend the trip. It's pretty easy to find from the subway. The theatre is actually in the basement of a church. I have seen three of four different shows there and each of them has been EXCELLENT. I am using all caps to make a point. There are very wonderful productions.

Playing now is Allegro, Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical. I don't want to get into the entire history of the show here. It was a big flop on Broadway in it's original run. It came right after Oklahoma and Carousel. This is one of the first revivals in 40 years. CSC has it on their season for next year.

I would recommend you see the production at APAC. It's a wonderful production of a somewhat flawed musical. The story is pretty simple. It follows the life of the lead character from his birth to his 35 th year.

What is remarkable is that you are seeing a Rodgers and Hammerstein show you might never have known existed.

Has anyone else seen it at APAC? Again, I thought it was really well done. Go check it out.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 07:42pm
Isn't this being done off-Broadway in the Fall, as well?

I am not sure I'd call it a big flop--it ran, and did tour but of course was a flop compared to the earlier shows. Are they using the revised script from Signature?
CurtainsUpat8
Understudy
joined:6/1/13
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 07:58pm
I don't know the answer about the book. In the program it says Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd. So I assume it is not a revised book.

In my original post I stated that Classic Stage Company is producing it in the fall. I look forward to seeing it there as well to compare the two productions.

It did run 9 months on Broadway but much of that was due to the huge advance sale of tickets. It came right after Carousel.

Here is the Wikipedia page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allegro_%28musical%29

EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 08:42pm
Yes I know the history of the show very well, and own both recordings and have read the (original) libretto. It sounds like they didn't use the Signature revision. The original production had so much dancing, I always wonder if smaller productions missing that would miss much of the show.
CurtainsUpat8
Understudy
joined:6/1/13
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 08:59pm
I am sure you know much more than I do about the show. I wasn't aware of the Signature production until you brought it up. I read a couple of the reviews.

The APAC version does seem to have a cut down chorus. I would say there were maybe 12 in the chorus. There was an awful lot of dancing in the APAC production. I didn't get the impression anything was cut. If I have a complaint it's that the hard working chorus had too much to do. Sometimes the vocals suffered, where the extra voices would have made a difference.

It seems to me that Act One was very well written and long. 90 mins. almost. Act 2 was shorter but also suffered from too much story to tell.

All in All I did enjoy the experience. Are you going to see the Astoria production EricMontreal? I would love to hear your thoughts on it.
uncageg
Broadway Legend
joined:5/13/04
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 10:18pm
I actually stumbled on the recording with Audra. Found it in a pile of cd's a neighbor put in the laundry room for anyone to take. It has become one of my favorite scores to listen to.
Just give the world Love.
justoldbill
Broadway Star
joined:10/17/07
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/4/14 at 11:26pm
Back in the 1980's, St. Bart's Theatre in Manhattan did a production of ALLEGRO that was hard to beat. It was staged by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli, the team responsible later for the Broadway stage version of STATE FAIR. They solved the second act by bringing into focus the relationship between the father and son. it was wonderful.
Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
bgcolema
Swing
joined:7/10/08
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/5/14 at 12:47pm
Hi ALLEGRO enthusiasts. I was the dramaturg on the APAC production, so I thought I could answer your questions about the version we did. We were given the original script from R&H, but they were very generous, and allowed us to make multiple changes, cuts, and edits. Some of the score was cut due to the overwhelming amount of dance music (though there is still a *signigicant* amount of dance in the APAC production to maintain the show's original conceptual feel), and we combined the Beulah and Emily characters (which I believe they did at Signture?) so Emily is more fleshed out and we don't have a seemingly random character in Act 1 who never returns. I think (and hope!) APAC maintained the original feel of the show while tightening up the book and making it more concise. I'm so glad you liked the production! Tell your friends! And if you want to learn more about ALLEGRO and APAC's work on it here's a little blog post - http://www.apacny.org/the-dramaturgs-point-of-view/ #ShamelessPlug
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/5/14 at 04:02pm
Thanks for the details! Trimming the dance music makes sense (I assume the full recording recorded all of it and there is a LOT,) and yes, I believe those characters (and maybe some others) were joined for the Signature revision.

It sounds like a fascinating production that I wish I could see--the several small photos I found online so far make it look like a very handsome production. I'll check out the blog! (Although looking at the first paragraph, shame on you for leaving Flower Drum Song off the list of their shows! :P )

Updated On: 5/5/14 at 04:02 PM
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/5/14 at 04:10pm
CurtainsUp--presently being in West Coast Canada, I will sadly miss all these productions.

Great to know about the dancing. While after Allegro R&H would go on to create perhaps the two best integrated musical plays of their era--South Pacific and Kind and I, I alwyas get that there's a sense of loss that due to Allegro's less than hit status, Rodgers persuaded Hammerstein to quit being so adventurous in the form of their musicals. There seems a natural progression from Oklahoma, Carousel to Allegro if being more adventurous with *how* the story is told (ie integrated dance and songs in Oklahoma! leading to a more serious story and whole musical scenes like The Bench Scene in Carousel leading to Allegro which is often told through snatches of music/dance/dialogue, etc.) I know Hammertein wanted to try a revised Allegro for TV near the time of his death, so obviously the show never left his mind.
CurtainsUpat8
Understudy
joined:6/1/13
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/5/14 at 10:34pm
Thanks for joining the thread bgcolema! I wish I had known some of what you said before I saw the show.

I started the thread because I think theatre enthusiasts should really make an effort to see this production.

Did you cut much of Act 2? What did you do to alter the original Act 2? How did you determine how many people were in the cast? It was a big cast. I am sure APAC has it's limits.

You all did a great job and I hope everyone on this board makes an attempt to see it. You will become an APAC fan. The first show I saw there was the beautiful production of The Secret Garden. Stunning! Keep up the good work. I know that the director Tom Wojtunik always gets a lot of credit... and he deserves it, but the contributions of Christine O"Grady, who choreographed it, were substantial. The tech aspects are always really great too.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/6/14 at 12:39am
I saw both the St. Bart's and Signature productions and must say that St. Bart's comes out on top. I remember it being a much more emotional journey than I experienced at Signature. It's a beautiful, varied score and, while somewhat sprawling, the core theme of to thine own self be true never gets old. And yes, lots of dance as it was not only choreographed by Agnes DeMille but directed by her as well. With a cast of about 60! Both productions I've seen were wisely whittled down to be more intimate. Where DiPietro did wholesale rewrites, Briggs and Mattioli pretty much stuck to the Hammerstein road map with a few effective revisions.
EricMontreal22
Broadway Legend
joined:10/31/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/6/14 at 12:47am
I would love to read (or see!) DiPietro's revisions, he seems an odd choice. I don't think the original libretto, as published anyway, was the big problem although it may be too basic of a story for a full show. Jo Milexiner's original designs (which can largely be seen on the NYPL archive) are *gorgeous* but apparently had to be changed quite a bit by the time it was staged--the Mielziner book suggests that the tour which simplified them was actually superior.
Wilmingtom
Broadway Star
joined:7/18/11
Allegro at APAC
Posted: 5/6/14 at 01:08am
Eric, you're right: DiPietro was a strange choice for this adaptation and made some peculiar choices. His biggest misstep, IMHO, was having the father die thereby skipping the heartfelt reunion of father and son after "Come Home." Come home to what and to whom? Ultimately R&H decided not to license his version.

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