As the Festival kicks off Sept. 26, there will be an evening of select scenes and songs from young American musical theatre writers currently working, including Adam Gwon, Sarah Hammond, Gary Adler, Phoebe Kreutz, Regina DiCicco and L.F. Turner. The evening will be produced by Josh Fiedler and directed by Marc Bruni and Stafford Arima.
A special benefit performance, Getting To Know You: An Enchanted Evening Of Oscar Hammerstein II, starring Laura Osnes (Anything Goes, Cinderella), Santino Fonana (Act One, Cinderella), Mandy Gonzalez (In the Heights) and Lewis Cleale (The Book of Mormon) in a musical overview of Hammerstein's career, will be presented Sept. 27. The event is created and hosted by Ted Chapin, head of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. Musical direction is by Andy Einhorn (Cinderella); Sarna Lapine is director. Chapin will share secrets and surprises gleaned from his years with the families of the team, including a never-before-heard song from South Pacific. The concert will also include the second annual Bucks County Playhouse Hall of Fame induction.
The Festival will also include a private pass-holder tour led by grandson Will Hammerstein of Highland Farm in nearby Doylestown, where Hammerstein wrote Oklahoma!, Carousel and The Sound of Music and mentored the young Stephen Sondheim.
Hammerstein contributed the book and lyrics to musicals including Show Boat, Rose-Marie and Golden Dawn. His many collaborations with Richard Rodgers include Cinderella, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, among others. The Oscar Hammerstein Festival marks the latest example of how the new Playhouse leadership intends to return the Playhouse to its roots as a developer of new work.
"As a producer of new musicals, I have become increasingly concerned that lyric writing is not getting the attention it deserves," Robyn Goodman, Bucks County Playhouse executive producer, said in a statement. "The lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein have stood the test of time and show us how metaphor, poetry and simplicity have been lost in the age of Twitter and texting."
"Bucks County has a long history as the home to some of the great theatre artists through seven decades, from Mr. Hammerstein to George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, and currently Christopher Durang," Alexander Fraser Fraser, BCP's producing director, added. "We want to bring a new generation of talented writers together with mentors to inspire them and bring back the art of lyric writing as practiced by the great Oscar Hammerstein."
For more information or to purchase a Festival Pass, visit bcptheater.org.