What is Oscar’s legacy? If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here it is. This is the Bellefonte Area School District (PA) cast of A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum. Our show opened and closed respectively on September 16th and 18th, 1982. This was our second Faculty/Staff musical production and as you can see, we had a blast. Yours truly, the high school choral director and producer of the show, played the role of the blond airhead, Philia, shown here in the center sitting on the lap of Pseudolus played by John Ziegler, the high school art teacher.
Forum, the first hit show of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, was dedicated to Sondheim’s mentor, Oscar Hammerstein II. The Bellefonte community packed the Bellefonte High School Auditorium for two performances – it was a real celebration of human happiness, harmony and hard work. The following year members of the school district faculty, staff, and school board presented Mary Rodger’s Once Upon a Mattress. Needless to say, the students loved seeing their teachers singing, dancing, and having such fun. Our shows had a positive effect on the high school music and theatre program especially with increased male participation.
In the weeks to come, Oscar’s legacy will be front and center as the new website www.oscarhammersteinlegacy.com comes into existence. More on that later, but for now, enjoy the exuberant faces of the cast and crew. Thirty years later, we continue to be the direct beneficiaries of Oscar Hammerstein’s life and love. Our golden memories of this musical masterpiece created by Oscar’s student, Mr. Sondheim, live on. That’s a beautiful legacy.