A Musical Theatre Family
By Oscar Andrew Hammerstein
(Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Hardcover, 9781579128463, 236pp.)
Publication Date: October 2010
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"The Hammersteins" is the story of one of Broadway's most creative and productive families. It is a story that begins in 1864 when Oscar Hammerstein I emigrates to America, establishes himself as a successful cigar merchant and turns his attention to the business of music and theaters. He builds many theaters including New York's most majestic opera house. He turns Times Square (then Longacre Square) into the theater capital of the world. His sons, Willie and Arthur carry on the tradition and nurture such talents as Will Rogers, W.C. Fields, Al Jolson, Houdini, and Charlie Chaplin. Willie's son Oscar II becomes the most successful lyricist of all time, writing the story and words to the Broadway shows "Showboat," "Oklahoma," "South Pacific," "Carousel," "The King and I," and "The Sound of Music." The accomplishments of this family are monumental. Their tale is enchanting.
Written by Oscar "Andy" Hammerstein (Oscar II's grandson), "The""Hammersteins" presents a multi-layered portrait of the Hammerstein legacy, complete with personal and professional highlights, as well as the scandals and tragedies. The book also draws heavily upon the family archives, presenting a rich collection of photographs, theatre blueprints, letters, programs, patents, and more, much of which has never been seen before. "The Hammersteins" is at once a deeply personal story of an American family living the American dream and a celebration of musical theater in this country.
When Oscar Hammerstein II died 50 years ago, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor. He was part of a family that helped build Broadway with hit shows like Oklahoma!, and some of the first theaters in Times Square. Oscar Andrew Hammerstein's new book tells his family story. More at NPR.org
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