Miranda Family Join Efforts To Save Hammerstein Home
Written by Jamie Griffiths on April 12, 2023
Miranda Family Join Efforts To Save Hammerstein Home
The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) announced today a major gift from the Miranda Family Fund in support of the nonprofit’s effort to purchase, restore and preserve Oscar Hammerstein II’s former home and creative epicenter at Highland Farm, and create a multifaceted and dynamic museum experience with a strong theatre education component. OHMTEC’s mission is to honor the Broadway legend’s groundbreaking work as a lyricist, librettist, mentor, and humanitarian and to educate and inspire the next generation of theatre afficionados, particularly in diverse and underserved communities.
“We are heartened and honored to have the support and strong endorsement from the Miranda family for the Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center,” said Greg Roth, OHMTEC board president. “Their desire to provide exceptional educational opportunities, especially for historically underserved people, is completely synchronistic to our board’s mission and aspiration. Their support brings global awareness and represents a milestone for this legacy project. We are grateful to Lin-Manuel, Luis and the Foundation.”
The Miranda family, led by patriarchs Luis A. Miranda, Jr. and Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda, has been active in philanthropy for over 40 years. Along with Luz Miranda-Crespo, Lin-Manuel, Miguel Towns, and their respective spouses, Luis Crespo and Vanessa Nadal, they have created and supported institutions focused on underserved populations in New York City, throughout the United States and in Puerto Rico. The Fund’s particular areas of interest include increasing opportunities for artists of color, supporting Puerto Rican relief efforts, voter engagement, and attention to critical issues in the U.S.
Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, Emmy and Tony Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor, is revered as the creator and original star of Broadway’s Hamilton and In the Heights. The recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award and 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, Lin-Manuel counts Stephen Sondheim among his greatest musical influences. Sondheim himself was mentored by Oscar Hammerstein at Highland Farm.
Hammerstein’s role as a mentor and humanitarian will play a large role in the forthcoming theatre education center. Plans include a youth theater company; classes in theater, dance and music production; mentorship programs for young adults and emerging professionals; school programming; writer’s retreats; and outreach programs for all ages, both in-person and virtual. Consistent with nonprofit’s goal to provide learning opportunities for all, programming fees will be on a sliding scale, and no one will be turned away.
OHMTEC’s educational programming is already making an impact through its annual International Youth Solo Contest. The contest serves the very important role of educating young musical theater enthusiasts about the tremendous influence Oscar Hammerstein II had on the development of the modern Broadway musical as we know it. In the combined first two years of this program, the nonprofit received applications from nearly 400 students representing 5 continents and 28 states. Application for the third annual contest is open on April 3, 2023. Information can be found at https://www.hammersteinmuseum.org/solo-contest.
Highland Farm was Oscar’s creative epi-center and the Hammerstein family’s residence for the last 20 years of his life. This is the place where he forged his legendary partnership with Richard Rodgers and that inspired many of their greatest musical works, including The Sound of Music, Carousel, The King and I, Oklahoma! and South Pacific, and where he mentored a young Stephen Sondheim. Over 75 Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, Tony Awards, and Pulitzer Prizes can be directly traced back to Highland Farm.
A growing list of luminaries have joined the nonprofit’s Honorary Advisory Board, including actress Shirley Jones, who said, “I owe my career to Oscar Hammerstein.” Other notables on the board include Ted Chapin, the former head of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization; Melinda Mathias Walsh, granddaughter of Hammerstein; actress/author/film and television producer Mariel Hemingway; English actor and producer Gerald Charles Dickens; National Medal of the Arts recipient Morten Lauridsen; Broadway and television actor/singer Justin Guarini; teen actress Kassie Mundhenk; Grammy award-winning singer/actor Jonathan Groff; Sam von Trapp, grandson of Baroness Maria von Trapp from The Sound of Music and Executive Vice President of The Trapp Family Lodge and von Trapp Brewing in Stowe, VT; Broadway actress/singer Christy Altomare; and 2020 Tony award nominee Derek Klena.
Projected costs are approximately five million dollars to preserve the property, curate the museum and construct the theatre education center. The organization is on a quick timeline to gather the support needed to purchase the property. Donations of any amount are welcome and can be made by check, credit card or appreciated securities. Individuals and entities interested in joining the Miranda family in bringing this dream to reality can visit OHMTEC’S donation page at the official site HERE.
A limited number of naming opportunities are being offered for rooms and spaces in the house and barn at Highland Farm. To find out availability and prices for naming, contact Christine Junker, Secretary/Treasurer at email@example.com.