Will Hammerstein, Oscar Hammerstein II's grandson, hopes to transform the farm, located in suburban Philadelphia, into the Oscar Hammerstein II Music & Theatre Education Center; his plan, however, is opposed by Doylestown Township supervisors and neighbors, who say that the $20 million proposal is too much development for the the 40-acre property. Concerns of nearby property owners include noise, traffic and storm-water runoff, their lawyer told The Republic.
Hammerstein's son James attended the local school alongside Stephen Sondheim, who was a frequent guest at the farm, which was sold by Hammerstein's widow following his death. It was recently renovated by Christine Cole as a bed and breakfast, with each room devoted to a different musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Will visited the building in 2010.
Plans for the center include a house tour and a museum exhibit in the barn followed by a performance. A 400-seat venue and a parking lot would be built.
"It could be a full day of learning about this great lyricist and then seeing his work," Cole told The Republic. "You can't have a museum that's static for somebody that wrote musical theatre."
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 and The King and I, among others.
A zoning hearing will be held Jan. 12.