Hammerstein Museum Announces Honorary Advisory Board

Shirley Jones, Mariel Hemingway, Gerald Dickens and Dr. Morten Lauridsen will form the core of the museum's Honorary Board of Directors.

By: Feb. 23, 2021
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The nonprofit Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center (OHMTEC) today announced that several internationally prominent figures from the stage, film and vocal music world are joining as Honorary Advisory Board members in support of the museum. Musical theatre and Hollywood icon Shirley Jones, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, English actor and performer Gerald Dickens and National Medal of Arts recipient and Grammy-nominated composer Dr. Morten Lauridsen will form the core of the museum's Honorary Board of Directors.

"That these artists, known and respected around the world, would lend their voices in support of The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center, is a reflection of the depth of impact that Oscar Hammerstein, the lyricist and the man, had on the world and the importance of preserving and sharing his legacy," said Board President Greg Roth. "We are deeply grateful to Ms. Jones, Mariel, Gerald and Dr. Lauridsen for their advocacy, support and partnership."

"I owe my career to Oscar Hammerstein," stated Shirley Jones. "He and Richard Rodgers gave me my first job: the role of Laurie in the motion picture version of Oklahoma! I loved Oscar and am honored to support the preservation of his home and the creation of The Oscar Hammerstein Museum and Theatre Education Center. This is where so many of his lyrics, known the world over, were created. I am pleased to lend my name and voice to this important project as a member of their Honorary Board."

Upon graduating from High School, Shirley Jones went to New York to audition for the casting director of Rodgers & Hammerstein. Taken by Shirley's beautifully trained voice, she was signed as a nurse in the Broadway production of South Pacific. Within a year, she would be in Hollywood to appear as "Laurie," the farm girl in love with cowboy Gordon MacRae (1955). Jones reprised the role on Broadway in 1955, before returning to Hollywood to appear as "Julie Jordan" in Carousel in 1956.

Actress, author and film/television producer Mariel Hemingway is the granddaughter of Nobel Prize-laureate novelist Ernest Hemingway. "Coming from a family of creatives, the Arts are incredibly important to me, not to mention my family, and to my outlook on life," said Hemingway in joining the Honorary Board. Hemingway began acting at age 14 with a Golden Globe-nominated role in "Lipstick" (1976) and received Academy and BAFTA Award nominations for her performance in Woody Allen's "Manhattan" (1979). She is also known for her leading roles in "Personal Best" (1982) and "Star 80" (1983), as well as in the TV series "Civil Wars," for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. The author of three books, Mariel Hemingway is a health advocate who has spent a lifetime studying how mental and physical health are linked.

Gerald Dickens is an English actor, director, and producer. He is best known for his one-man shows based on the novels of his great-great-grandfather, the author Charles Dickens. Dickens is honored to be included in OHMTEC's Honorary Board, and he reflects fondly on his time performing in Oklahoma! He is eager to see Oscar's home retained as a place of theatre education for future generations.

The music of Dr. Morten Lauridsen occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the Twenty-First Century. Lauridsen commented, "I am honored to be on this very special Board. I have a deep connection to this farm." A Grammy-nominated composer, Dr. Lauridsen is the recipient of five honorary doctorates and the 2016 ASCAP Foundation "Life in Music" Award. In 2006 Lauridsen was named an "American Choral Master" by the National Endowment for the Arts and in 2007 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest artistic award in the United States, by the President in a White House ceremony "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power, and spiritual depth that have thrilled audiences worldwide."