THE HAMMERSTEINS - A MUSICAL THEATRE FAMILY is the story of one of Broadway's most creative and productive families. This family story begins in 1864 when Oscar Hammerstein I emigrates to America, establishes himself as a successful cigar merchant and turns his attention to the building and managing a dozen theatres including New York's most majestic opera house. He spearheads the development of Times Square into the theatre 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.
The book presents a multi-layered portrait of the Hammerstein legacy, complete with personal and professional highlights, as well as 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 theatre in this country. The Hammersteins is at once a deeply personal story of an American family living the American dream and a celebration of musical theatre in this country.