Vote Postponed on Creation of Oscar Hammerstein Music Theatre Center

News   Vote Postponed on Creation of Oscar Hammerstein Music Theatre Center
Following three hours of testimony, the proposed plans to renovate Oscar Hammerstein II's property into a museum and theatre were delayed as a Doylestown Township zoning board hearing Jan. 12 concluded without a vote, reports.

As previously reported, 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.

The farm was Hammerstein's favorite place and the location of many collaborations with Richard Rodgers, including The Sound of Music.

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.

The zoning board must approve several variances in order for Will to move forward. At the conclusion of the meeting, several people were still slated to speak. Proceedings will continue in March.

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.

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