"I owe my career to Oscar Hammerstein. 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 The 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.”
Ted Chapin was President and Chief Creative Officer of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, responsible for management of the copyrights created by Richard Rodgers and/or Oscar Hammerstein II and others. Ted was the co-founder of the Encores! series and has been a host and interviewer on many television shows. He appears in various documentary films on the musical theater, including the PBS shows Broadway: The American Musical and Out of His Dreams, a documentary on Oscar Hammerstein II. His book, Everything Was Possible: The Birth of the Musical “Follies,“ based on his experience as the production assistant on the original Broadway production of the Sondheim/Prince musical Follies, won both an ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award and a Special Jury Prize for Distinguished Achievement by the Theatre Library Association. Ted serves on the boards of New York City Center, Goodspeed Musicals, The Kurt Weill Foundation, where he currently serves as chairman, and The American Theater Wing which he chaired for four years. He has been on panels of the National Endowment for the Arts, has been a guest lecturer at many universities and has been honored with many awards.
Melinda Mathias Walsh
Granddaughter of Oscar Hammerstein II
I was nine years old when my grandfather died. My memories of him are that of a small child and much like any other child’s, nothing terribly unique. My lasting impression of him has been shaped by the stories and personal letters passed down to me by my mother and other relatives. When I think of my grandfather, I think of a life lived with integrity and humanity, a model for what it is to be a good citizen of the world. He once said “When a writer writes anything about anything at all, he gives himself away.” I think these characteristics shine in all of his work. He believed that the good in humanity would prevail, a belief we cling to now while seeking comfort and hope .
Gerald Dickens is an actor, director, producer,and the great great grandson of the author Charles Dickens. His is honored to be included in Oscar'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.
Justin Guarini’s performance career launched with the first season of American Idol in 2002. His stage appearances since then include Broadway productions of American Idiot, Romeo and Juliet, Wicked and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Justin has hosted the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys. He continues to reprise his role as the lovable Lil’ Sweet in commercials for Diet Dr. Pepper. A strong proponent for music education in schools, Justin has advocated for funding on Capitol Hill by lobbying for the International Music Products Association. He has worked with Education Through Music Los Angeles, a nonprofit that promotes using music education as a catalyst to improve academic achievement, motivation for school and self-confidence in under-served communities. In 2019, Justin founded Artist Mindset Mastery (ILiveToPerform.com) to help performers achieve success.
Mariel is excited to join the honorary board to preserve Oscar's home as a museum and education center. "Coming from a family of creatives the Arts are incredibly important to me, (not to mention my family) and to my outlook on life. Part of our sense of history comes from our connection to Art in all of its forms."
The music of Morten Lauridsen occupies a permanent place in the standard vocal repertoire of the Twenty-First Century. He was named an “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006, he was awarded the 2007 National Medal of Arts 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.” In 2016 Mr. Lauridsen received the ASCAP Foundation “Life in Music” Award at Lincoln Center. His eight vocal cycles, instrumental works, art songs and series of sacred Latin motets are performed throughout the world and have been recorded on over two hundred CDs, including several that have received Grammy nominations. Named an “American Choral Master” by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2006, he was awarded the 2007 National Medal of Arts 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.” In 2016 Mr. Lauridsen received the ASCAP Foundation “Life in Music” Award at Lincoln Center.