You Can Tour the Farm Where Oscar Hammerstein II Wrote Oklahoma! This Summer | Playbill

On the Rialto You Can Tour the Farm Where Oscar Hammerstein II Wrote Oklahoma! This Summer

Pennsylvania's Hammerstein Museum is offering weekly tours of Highland Farm, where the musical theatre legend wrote his most popular musicals.

Highland Farm Creative Commons

Want to see the actual bright golden haze on the meadow—or at least the Doylestown, Pennsylvania, grass that inspired the iconic image? Head to the Hammerstein Museum, which is hosting tours of Broadway legend Oscar Hammerstein II's country home, Highland Farm, throughout July and August. Visitors will get to see the place Hammerstein wrote much of his famous musicals, including Oklahoma!The Sound of Music, and South Pacific.

The Show Boat and Oklahoma! writer purchased the farm in 1940, just as he was beginning his landmark collaboration with composer Richard Rodgers, as a quiet place to work outside of Manhattan. The property would become Hammerstein's creative epicenter and is where he wrote quintessential Broadway lyrics for "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" and "Edelweiss," among many others.

Highland Farm is also the site where fellow theatrical legend Stephen Sondheim became Hammerstein's protégé. The composer-lyricist became acquainted with the Hammerstein family after Sondheim's mother moved them to an estate near the Hammersteins' farm, after which he became a frequent guest and friend to Hammerstein's son, Jimmy. The elder Hammerstein would ultimately take Sondheim under his wing, teaching him many of the basics of constructing musicals and advising him on his early career choices, including signing on to contribute lyrics to West Side Story despite Sondheim's reluctance to work on a project that wouldn't see him composing music.

The 45-minute tours, available on Fridays at 11 AM and Sundays at 3 PM, will include stories about Hammerstein's family, discussions on his groundbreaking impact on the modern book musical, and insights into his humanitarian work.

The house was operated as a bed and breakfast for years before being bought and transformed into The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) last year.


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