The Philly POPS Celebrates the Legacy of Broadway Luminary Oscar Hammerstein II

-Courtesy of the Philly POPS orchestra

Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell brings the fun and elegance of Oscar Hammerstein II’s masterworks to the POPS in HAMMERSTEIN: The Song is You, April 1–3 at the Kimmel Cultural Campus.

This original show will feature the full Philly POPS orchestra with Broadway and West End stars Liz Callaway, Damian Humbley, and Rosena Hill Jackson. The program will explore Oscar’s career and life, starting with his collaborations with Jerome Kern and Sigmund Romberg and continuing with selections from his legacy musicals, Oklahoma!CarouselSouth PacificThe King & I, and The Sound of Music. Notable songs include: “All The Things You Are,” “The Song is You,” “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “Edelweiss,” and more.

While traditional composer and lyricist duos of the time wrote the music first and lyrics second, in their partnership, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein agreed that Oscar would write the lyrics first. In this way, despite not being a composer, Hammerstein’s lyrics shaped the music, and his masterful gift for storytelling inspired the composers to further tell the story through music.

Raised in New York, NY, Oscar Hammerstein II was born into theater. His grandfather, Oscar Hammerstein, was a famous opera impresario who built many theaters, including The Met Philadelphia. Hammerstein 2nd wrote lyrics to 1,589 songs, including the musicals Oklahoma!CarouselSouth PacificThe King & IThe Sound of Music, and more.

Oscar lived the final 20 years of his life in Doylestown, PA, where his neighbor, a young Stephen Sondheim, would come over to learn the craft of writing a musical. Hammerstein’s work earned him eight Tony awards, two Oscars, and two Pulitzer Prizes.

“Oscar Hammerstein’s works are integral to Broadway theater,” said David Charles Abell. “He was a masterful storyteller who used his lyrics to drive musical motion and emotion. He not only changed Broadway through his lyrics, but he also shaped the career of his protégé, Stephen Sondheim. I am so excited to bring this show to Philadelphia—so close to where Hammerstein lived his last 20 years.”

Tickets start at $35 and are available at www.phillypops.org/hammerstein. HAMMERSTEIN: The Song is You runs April 1, 2 and 3, 2022 at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. As part of the Kimmel Cultural Campus’ Safe and Clean Commitment, guests are required to provide proof of vaccination and must wear masks while in the building.  

The Philly POPS is partnered with Art-Reach for their ACCESS initiative. ACCESS cardholders can purchase tickets for the reduced price of $2 per ticket in person at the Academy of Music box office.

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