The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) will mark the official closing on the nonprofit’s purchase of Oscar Hammerstein II’s historic home and workplace with a celebratory event at the property, Highland Farm in Doylestown, at noon Monday.
Festivities will include remarks by OHMTEC board president Greg Roth and songs by the Lenape Middle School Choir under the direction of Jaime Rogers. Members of the Hammerstein family will be in attendance.
The famed lyricist lived on the historic property with his family, and it is where he collaborated with composer Richard Rodgers to create some of musical theater's best-known and loved shows, including “The Sound of Music,” “Oklahoma!,” “South Pacific” and others.
“The board is thrilled that the local community lent their voices and their support to the nationwide choir of advocates, Roth noted. “As with any legacy project, it takes an entire cast of people coming together – volunteers, financial supporters, and ‘cockeyed optimists’ – to envision and bring the dream to reality. Preserving this important historic landmark is a milestone moment for our community, county, state, and country.”
Financial support for the project came from hundreds of individuals and organizations across the country and the world, including a grant from the Miranda Family Fund, the charitable foundation of playwright and composer Lin Manuel Miranda, and the estate of philanthropist and Hammerstein family friend Ronald Franklin Pratt.
Additional funding was provided by the Bucks County Industrial Development Authority and the state of Pennsylvania through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP).
Dubbed the “Birthplace of the Modern American Musical,” Highland Farm was Hammerstein’s home and creative epicenter for the last 20 years of his life. It is where the Rodgers and Hammerstein collaboration was born and the inspiration for many of their works, including “South Pacific,” based on the novel by author James Michener, a Doylestown native.
Remarkably, at Highland Farm Hammerstein met and mentored a young Stephen Sondheim, who has said, “In one afternoon [at Highland Farm], I learned more about songwriting than most people do in a lifetime.” Over 75 Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes can be directly traced back to Highland Farm.
OHMTEC’s mission is to honor the Broadway legend’s groundbreaking work as a lyricist, librettist, mentor, and humanitarian and to educate and inspire generations of creators and theater-lovers, with special opportunities for diverse and underserved communities. The nonprofit’s vision is to restore the historic property and create a multifaceted and dynamic museum experience with a strong theater education component.
Fundraising has begun in earnest for the next phase of the project. A generous donor is providing a match for all gifts up to $90,000 through the end of the year. Naming opportunities are available for rooms and spaces in the house and barn. Donations can be made at hammersteinmuseum.org/donate. For information email email@example.com.