Oscar Hammerstein Festival Press Release

Bucks County Playhouse announces the second
Oscar Hammerstein Festival
April 29 – May 1
Cinderella stars Osnes, Fontana and Clark, to reunite in performance to benefit Playhouse

New Hope, PA (February 29, 2016) – A benefit concert featuring the original Tony-nominated stars of the recent Broadway production of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella,” Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana and Victoria Clark, and an evening of new work focusing on the award-winning, rising musical theatre writer Adam Gwon are among the highlights of Bucks County Playhouse’s Oscar Hammerstein Festival, April 29 – May 1.

Playhouse Producers Robyn Goodman, Alexander Fraser, Stephen Kocis and Josh Fiedler announced details on their second Oscar Hammerstein Festival, a weekend that celebrates the importance of lyrics in the creation of new musicals. The Festival will be held April 29 – May 1, 2016 at the historic playhouse in New Hope, Pa.

Named in honor of the master writer whose countless accomplishments during his illustrious career include having mentored a young Stephen Sondheim at Hammerstein’s Bucks County farm – the Festival is a year-long program that offers expert mentorship to early career composers and lyricists.

The concert is part of an extensive and impressive schedule. This year’s Festival brings musical theatre experts, artists, and enthusiasts together for a weekend featuring new lyric writing talent as well as the Saturday evening event the will benefit the Playhouse and its year-long musical theatre development programs. For information on available sponsorship opportunities for the Hammerstein Festival, please call Chuck Finch at 267-740-2090.

“We remain committed to providing a home for talented writers to create new work, and give them a taste of the welcome retreat that Hammerstein found when he moved from New York to Bucks County in 1940,” says Ms. Goodman, Bucks County Playhouse Executive Producer. Mr. Fraser adds “We continue to be inspired by Hammerstein’s blending of dialogue and song in the seminal musicals he created. Almost a century later, they remain essential guideposts in the creation of modern musical theatre.”

Over the course of three days, The Oscar Hammerstein Festival will feature special events all devoted to musical theatre. The Playhouse offers Festival Passes for attendees to enjoy all events, and can be purchased online or at the box office.

The weekend kick-offs on Friday, April 29th with “New Songwriters Tonight!”, an evening of new work focusing on the award-winning, rising musical theatre writer Adam Gwon (“Ordinary Days,” “String,” “Cake Off”), joined by a cast of Broadway singers showcasing new songs and the writer’s take on how musicals are created. The evening will also feature a sneak peek at a future Bucks County Playhouse production.

Saturday, April 30 will feature “Don’t Ever Leave Me: The Love Songs of Oscar Hammerstein II,” a special benefit concert created and hosted by Ted Chapin, head of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and featuring Victoria Clark, Laura Osnes, Santino Fontana and Lewis Cleale. Hammerstein’s masterful use of words, in shows like “South Pacific,” “Carousel,” “Show Boat” and “The King and I” created some of the most indelible moments in musical history.  Musical direction is by Andy Einhorn (Broadway’s hit production of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella”); Sarna Lapine is the director.

Clark is a Tony-award winner and 4-time nominee who is best known to Broadway audiences for her roles in “The Light in the Piazza,” “Sister Act,” and “Titanic.” Osnes, a Tony nominee for “Cinderella” as well as “Bonnie & Clyde” also appeared on Broadway in “Anything Goes,” “South Pacific” and “Grease.” Fontana made his Broadway debut in the 2009 revival of “Sunday in the Park with George.” He also appeared in Billy Elliot, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Act One, and voiced the role of Prince Hans in the Disney hit “Frozen.” He can currently be seen on the TV musical comedy, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and alongside Jennifer Lopez in the NBC drama series, “Shades of Blue.” Cleale is currently on Broadway in “The Book of Mormon.” Other Broadway appearances include “Spamalot,” “Amour,” “Once Upon a Mattress” and “Swinging on a Star.”

In addition, pass-holders will enjoy special seminars with artists and experts within the musical theater field, including a farewell brunch on Sunday at the historic home of producing director Alexander Fraser.

The Oscar Hammerstein Festival marks another milestone in the return of Bucks County Playhouse to the original mission it was founded upon in 1939: to create “a laboratory to nurture the talents of young playwrights and actors to help keep alive traditions of the American stage.” Since its rebirth in 2012, two new plays have transferred from the Playhouse stage to Broadway: Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” and this season’s “Misery” starring Bruce Willis and Laurie Metcalfe.

For more information or to purchase a Festival Pass, please visit: www.buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.