House Where Hammerstein Mentored Teen Sondheim Is Up for Sale

News   House Where Hammerstein Mentored Teen Sondheim Is Up for Sale Highland Farm in Bucks County, PA is on the market
Highland Farm
Highland Farm Creative Commons

Highland Farm in Doylestown, PA, where lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II wrote many of the classic songs from Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music, South Pacific and The King and I, is on the market, according to a report in The New York Post.

The 1840 farmhouse has a second claim to theatre fame. It wasn't far from the house where composer Stephen Sondheim’s parents lived and carried on their unhappy marriage. Teen Sondheim legendarily fled to Highland Farm, where he fell under the spell of the avuncular Hammerstein, and eventually resolved to follow in Hammerstein's footsteps and become a musical theatre writer himself.

It's also the place Hammerstein died in 1960.

The building has been operating for the past nine years as a bed and breakfast owned by Christine Cole who reportedly is ready to sell it. No asking price was reported.

In 2014 Hammerstein’s grandson William approached the local zoning board with a plan to turn it into a museum and a theatre. But his plan, estimated at $20 million, which would have required building a 400-seat venue, plus a parking lot for nearly 100 cars and several buses, on the five-acre lot, was denied over fears of “noise, traffic and stormwater runoff.”

Alex Fraser, artistic director of the nearby Bucks County Playhouse, reportedly wants to turn it into a writers' retreat but lacks the funds. Post columnist Michael Riedel is calling for a Kickstarter campaign.

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