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Visit to Hammerstein home inspires “Tick, Tick...Boom!” cast


The Buck County Playhouse cast of “Tick, Tick…Boom!” recently experienced the importance of mentorship when performers toured the Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center, embraced its history, and became part of the mission to save the house.

The Playhouse started showing “Tick, Tick…Boom!” on June 23, a dynamic rock musical that follows Jonathan Larson's life before the debut of his multi-award-winning musical “Rent.” Larson suddenly passed the night before the first Off-Broadway preview performance from an aortic dissection, never witnessing the success of his work.

Cast members Andy Mientus, Jonathan; Krystina Alabado, Susan; and Noah J. Ricketts, Michael, all hold a special place in their hearts for Larson due to “Rent” being one of the first professional shows they saw in their youth.

“Seeing ‘Rent’ was part of the inspiration for my career, so playing in ‘Tick, Tick … Boom!’ and playing as Jonathan is almost like a tribute to Larson,” said Mientus.

Larson was mentored by Stephen Sondheim during the early works of his career and shadowed him during the progress of “Into The Woods.”

One of Sondheim’s role models was Oscar Hammerstein II, who guided Sondheim in his adolescence and was also a frequent guest at the celebrated Broadway producer’s home.

Hammerstein and his wife Dorothy lived on Highland Farm in Doylestown for the last 20 years of his life, where he forged the famous partnership with Richard Rodgers, rousing their historical musicals “The Sound of Music,” “Carousel,” “The King and I,” “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific.”

Cast members were able to visit the Hammerstein home, which also currently serves as a bed-and-breakfast in Doylestown. During their trip, the crew admired items connected to Hammerstein’s musical career in the front room. The three actors also brought the walls of the house alive with music again singing “Louder than Words” from “Tick, Tick … Boom!” while Music Director Rodney Bush played at the farm’s grand piano.

“It’s pretty trippy being here because all the songs we heard and performed growing up were Oscar Hammerstein, and now we’re right here with him,” said Ricketts after taking in the house’s features.

Alexander Fraser, producing director of the Bucks County Playhouse, also introduced the cast to Lori Kesilman, a board member of the OHMTEC, and Sandy Gerger, a tour guide at the OHMTEC, who both explained the importance of the home and their mission to save it.

The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that was founded with the purpose to raise funds for purchasing and restoring the house of Hammerstein. Their plans for Highland Farms include preserving its history and converting the barn to become a theater education center, where young aspiring artists can hone their skills and provide special opportunities for children in diverse and underserved communities.

“I feel super-inspired as an artist and creator being here,” Alabado said. “It’s so important to keep this house alive because everything starts with Oscar Hammerstein when you’re young in the theater.”

Recently the OHMTEC announced a $500,000 matching challenge to raise funds for purchasing the home so it can enter the next phase of the project — developing the land and restoring the home. Those interested in helping to save Oscar’s home and learn more about the project can visit

“Tick, Tick … Boom!” will be showing at the Bucks County’s Playhouse until July 15.

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