The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) announced Wednesday 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 in Doylestown Township, and create a multifaceted and dynamic museum experience with a strong theater education component.
“It’s really one of the major emphases of their fund, educating, particularly communities of color,” said Christine Junker, secretary-treasurer of the OHMTEC Board. “We want to offer theater education to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to have it. That really synthesizes with their fund.”
Junker said the amount of the gift is confidential.
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 theater aficionados, 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 rap musical “Hamilton” and “In the Heights.” The recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award and 2018 Kennedy Center Honors, Lin-Manuel Miranda 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 theater 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.
Highland Farm was Hammerstein’s creative epicenter 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.
Projected costs are approximately $5 million to preserve the property, curate the museum and construct the theater 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 hammersteinmuseum.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updated: Thursday, April 13, 2023, at 4 p.m.