Theater lovers will gather in Bucks County next week to support a project honoring late theater legend Oscar Hammerstein II.
The Raven in New Hope is hosting a lunch and champagne send-off March 13 for locals heading to New York City for a concert benefitting the Hammerstein Museum. The museum is in progress at the icon's former home, Highland Farm in Doylestown.
Hammerstein's grandson, William Hammerstein, Esq., is spearheading the effort to protect the home from threat of a four-lot subdivision. The home was where Hammerstein and writing partner Richard Rodgers penned lyrics to productions like "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music." Stephen Sondheim also visited the home many times while Hammerstein mentored him.
Through nonprofit The Oscar Hammerstein Museum & Theater Education Center, supporters are working to purchase the farm, restore the home for tours and renovate the barn to be used as a museum.
To raise money for the effort, nearly a dozen performers will join at The Players Club in New York City. Performers include Erich Bergen, Lora Lee Gayer, Ann Harada, Liz Larsen, Telly Leung, Laura Osnes, Alexandra Silber, James Snyder, Sal Viviano, Besty Wolfe and Michael Xavier. Emmy Award winner Lance Horne will serve as musical director, while Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and Chief Creative Officer Ted Chapin and William Hammerstein, Esq. are honorary hosts. The program is produced by Steve Schonberg, Kristine Lewis and Brenda Gelles.
"A small number of us have fought long and hard to get to this point in transforming Highland Farm into a museum and education center. So, it is especially gratifying to see so many stars help us raise funds to make it a reality,” William Hammerstein said. “I don’t think there could be a better time for a museum honoring Oscar Hammerstein II. With the country so divided, we need more places to find common ground. Oscar Hammerstein was a man for all people, whose work created powerful bonds in communities and around the world, and continues to do so still. He seems to bring out our best. It’s magical.”
The Raven's send-off event begins at 1 p.m. at 385 W. Bridge St. in New Hope, with the limo bus departing around 2:45 p.m. The $200 ticket includes lunch, champagne, transportation and admission to the show. For more information or tickets, visit www.HammersteinCenter.org.