Shirley Jones Will Be Inducted Into the Bucks County Playhouse Hall of Fame
The induction is a highlight of a benefit concert on April 22 at 8 pm entitled, "Hammerstein in Hollywood," which features current Broadway talent saluting Oscar Hammerstein's achievements in film and television.
Playhouse Producers Robyn Goodman, Alexander Fraser, Stephen Kocis and Josh Fiedler announced details on their third Oscar Hammerstein Festival, a weekend that celebrates the importance of lyrics in the creation of new musicals. Named in honor of the master writer whose countless accomplishments during his illustrious career have included mentoring a young Stephen Sondheim at Hammerstein's Highland Farm in Bucks County, the Festival is a year-long program that offers expert mentorship to early career composers and lyricists.
"Oscar Hammerstein has inspired a generation of composers and lyricists with the iconic work he created for both Broadway and Hollywood," says Robyn Goodman, Executive Producer of Bucks County Playhouse. "We are committed to honoring Hammerstein's talent, craft and generosity by welcoming promising musical theater writers and helping them develop their own work. The Oscar Hammerstein Festival gives patrons the opportunity not only to celebrate Hammerstein, but to also get to know the next generation of composers and lyricists."
"What better way to honor both Hammerstein's contributions to Hollywood, and the incredible film adaptations of some of his most popular musicals, than welcoming Oscar winner, Shirley Jones into our Bucks County Playhouse Hall of Fame," adds Fraser. "Shirley Jones spent time significant time in Bucks County working with Oscar Hammerstein at Highland Farm, and again with her husband, Jack Cassidy, when he performed at The Playhouse in 1957. She is an exceptional connection to Oscar Hammerstein and his extraordinary musical legacy."
Over the course of two days, The Oscar Hammerstein Festival features 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. Single tickets may also be purchased for the "Hammerstein in Hollywood" benefit concert.
Academy Award winner Shirley Jones will be inducted into the Bucks County Playhouse Hall of Fame during the benefit concert, created and hosted by the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization's Ted Chapin, with direction by Josh Rhodes (Broadway's "Cinderella") and musical direction by Grammy nominee, David Dabbon ("Sondheim on Sondheim"). Jones will chat about her experience working on two Rodgers and Hammerstein classic films ("Oklahoma" and "Carousel") as well as take questions from the audience about her wide-ranging career in stage, theater and film. The benefit concert also will feature performances by a cast of Broadway singers (official casting to be announced shortly).
No performer is more indelibly linked to the great American movie musical than Jones. In an extraordinary career that spans more than six decades, Jones has starred in over 30 motion pictures, including three of the most iconic film musicals of all time. After being awarded the title of "Miss Pittsburgh," she traveled to New York to audition for the chorus of "South Pacific," but instead was personally selected by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to star in the film version of "Oklahoma." Jones next appeared in their film adaptation of "Carousel." She also memorably played opposite Robert Preston in Meredith Willson's "The Music Man." At the age of 25, she received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Elmer Gantry." Jones gained fame with a new generation as the star of the classic musical sitcom, "The Partridge Family." In 2004, Jones made a triumphant return to Broadway opposite her son, Patrick Cassidy, in the revival of "42nd Street."
Among the other programming scheduled for this year's festival is a workshop featuring excerpts from "The New World," an outrageously funny new musical that will debut at The Playhouse this fall. Composer Gary Adler ("Altar Boyz") and lyricist Phoebe Kreutz ("Awesomer & Awesomer") will take Festival pass holders into the evolution of their new musical and chat about some of the changes as they ready the musical for production.
New York Post theater columnist, Michael Riedel, will also present at the festival - giving insight into the current and past state of Broadway with a talk based on his book, "Razzle Dazzle: The Battle for Broadway." Riedel's book tells the tale of the men whose contentious battle for the Broadway theater district turned 1970s Times Square into today's mecca for theatergoers and tourists.
Pass-holders will enjoy these and other seminars featuring artists and experts within the musical theater field. They also will network with other pass holders and presenters at an informal farewell brunch on Sunday at the historic home of Bucks County Playhouse Producing Director Alexander Fraser.
Ticket prices from $45 to $150 for the Saturday evening benefit. Weekend passes (admission to all events) range from $350 to $1,000. For more information or to purchase either tickets to the benefit concert, or a Weekend Festival Pass, visit www.buckscountyplayhouse.org or call 215-862-2121.
Located between Philadelphia and New York, Bucks County Playhouse opened in 1939 in a converted 1790 gristmill after a group of community activists, led by Broadway orchestrator Don Walker and playwright Moss Hart, rallied to save the building. The Playhouse quickly became one of the country's most famous regional theaters, featuring a roster of American theatrical royalty including Helen Hayes, Kitty Carlisle, George S. Kaufman, Grace Kelly, Robert Redford, Bert Lahr, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, Alan Alda, Tyne Daly, Liza Minnelli and Audra McDonald and remained in continuous operation until December 2010. In 2012, The Playhouse re-opened thanks to the efforts of the Bridge Street Foundation, the nonprofit family foundation of Kevin and Sherri Daugherty, and Broadway producer Jed Bernstein.
Since its renovation, significant productions include Terrence McNally's "Mothers and Sons" starring Tyne Daly, which moved to Broadway and was nominated for two Tony Awards, and "Misery" by William Goldman based on the Stephen King novel which also went on to a Broadway run in the 2015-16 season. Two of The Playhouse's recent productions -- "Company" starring Justin Guarini, and William Finn's "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" -- were named by Wall Street Journal to its "Best of Theatre" list for 2015. The Playhouse's productions of "Steel Magnolias" and "Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story" broke box office records in 2016.