Located at 132 West 89th Street, P.S. 166 is a K-5 elementary school that is headed by principal Patricia Reilly. In a statement, Reilly spoke about the renaming of the school: “This is a lovely way to honor a very talented New Yorker who went to our school.” Rodgers, born in 1902, was a student at the school from 1911-1916.
The June 10 celebration will feature remarks by Rodgers’ daughter, Mary Rodgers, who was Principal for a Day at the institution in April. Also expected to attend are Rodgers’ other daughter, Linda Rodgers, and her daughter Kim Beaty. Beaty created an oil portrait of her grandfather, which will be installed in the school that day. The dedication, which begins at 8:30 AM, will also include students of the school performing songs and scenes from several Rodgers musicals.
About the upcoming event, Mary Rodgers said, “My family couldn’t be more delighted or thrilled! My father loved music, he loved young people, and he would have been overjoyed at the fact that his name and his songs will live on through a school and a community that meant so much to him.”
During his lifetime, Richard Rodgers penned over 900 songs. His partnerships with Lorenz Hart and later with Oscar Hammerstein II produced some of the most successful musicals in Broadway history. His works with Hart included On Your Toes, Babes in Arms, I Married an Angel, The Boys from Syracuse, Pal Joey and By Jupiter, and the Rodgers-Hammerstein collaboration spawned Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song and The Sound of Music.
In related news: On June 5-6, P.S. 166 will present the world premiere of an adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I that has been created for young theatregoers. Entitled Getting to Know . . . The King and I, the reworking of the classic was adapted by The Rodgers and Hammerstein Theatre Library.