Broadway legend’s grandson opening Oscar Hammerstein Museum
Pennsylvania attorney Will Hammerstein, married, 54, is Broadway royalty Oscar Hammerstein II’s grandson.
In ’43, Grandpa and partner Richard Rodgers created music, book and lyrics for “Oklahoma!” then “South Pacific” in 1949, and, through the ’50s, “The King and I,” “Flower Drum Song,” “The Sound of Music.” They wrote “Carousel” in 1945, and it stars Renée Fleming, in today’s revival.
Will’s now turning Doylestown’s Highland Farm, an 1840 cattle-and-circus elephants barn, which still has vacant dilapidated stalls, into the Oscar Hammerstein Museum. Bought in 1941 for $23,000, there Granddad wrote million-dollar numbers like “The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye.”
“My father, Jamie, youngest child of Oscar’s second wife, Dorothy, told me his father wrote standing up. With a bad back, he couldn’t create sitting down. He’d pace. If a word or whatever hit him, he’d write onto a yellow pad at a standing desk. He died in 1960, before I was born, but I have some memorabilia — portraits, crystal inkwell, rocking chair.”
Will lives “without unlimited resources but with the backing of a small trust.” Repairs, revitalizing, turning this into a museum/historic residence/tourist venue/and maybe tribute theater to house Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals will cost a few million.
“Stephen Sondheim was actually Oscar’s protégé. It’s Tony time. Artists from ‘Carousel’ are up for awards, and people are attuned to Broadway. And in 1895, the first Oscar Hammerstein built the first New York theater. But although I tried, even in the Players Club it’s tough to get money in one chunk. People have their own lives, needs, obligations.”
This barn needs to sing for its supper. Grampa’s gone but Will’s 21-month-old son is also named Oscar. And says Will: “We’re Hammersteins. We’re obsessive.”
Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” just came out. And this star director’s in Portugal promoting the movie, which, thanks to a cold, he can’t.
He just lost his voice. When he returns, he should try Primola. A little pasta does wonders for the throat.
Roy Cohn’s everywhere
Election night Donald Trump and I remembered our Roy Cohn times. “Angels in America’s” Tony-nominated Nathan Lane and I talked Roy Cohn because that’s who he’s playing. Now comes a request about a Roy Cohn documentary. I’ve talked more about Roy Cohn than I ever talked to him.
Ivy Meeropol: “I’m Ethel and Julius Rosenberg’s eldest granddaughter. Michael, their elder son, is my father.” In 1951, the Rosenbergs, convicted of espionage, were sentenced to death in the electric chair. On the prosecution team? Roy Cohn.
Ivy Meeropol is the documentarian prepping the film on Roy Cohn.
A humble razz
The Friars is having a roast — but this time it’s only a roastlet. Like just a char. No more grand ballroom with 2,000 big-time spenders. J
une 21 it’s in the clubhouse dining room, which, if you take away the ketchup, holds maybe 80. Cocktail hour’s been shrunk to a half hour, 6 to 6:30.
Honoree’s lawyer Gloria Allred.
What more could go wrong?
Life’s aging, marijuana’s proliferating, doctors disappearing, Arctic ice melting, seas rising, fires starting, weather changing, manners forgetting, people shooting, big-time divorcing, earthquakes blasting, trees falling, salaries thinning, winds howling, temperature changing, storms raging, politicians grabbing, money managers stealing, traffic congesting, shopping stopping, streets clogging, technology burgeoning, plastic polluting, stores closing, people starving, parking lacking, animals encroaching, newspapers shutting, prices rising, Elon Musk bragging, Zuckerberg dancing, penmanship ailing, TV failing, movies disappointing — and now France complaining their Camembert is smelling.
Not only in New York, kids, not only in New York.
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