Press Release • March 8, 2022

Music Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell brings the fun and elegance of Oscar Hammerstein 2nd’s masterworks to the POPS in HAMMERSTEIN: The Song is You.

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 2nd 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 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.

Performance repertoire:

“Overture” from South Pacific
“The Sound of Music” from The Sound of Music
“The Riff Song” from The Desert Song
“The Desert Song” from The Desert Song
“One Kiss” from The New Moon
“Who?” from Sunny
“Why Was I Born?” from Sweet Adeline
“The Song is You” from Music in the Air
“Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man” from Show Boat
“Lover Come Back to Me” from The New Moon
“The Folks Who Live on the Hill” from High, Wide and Handsome
“Beat Out That Rhythm on a Drum” from Carmen Jones
Main Title and “Oh What a Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma!
“People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma!
“It Might as Well Be Spring” from State Fair
“June is Bustin’ Out All Over” from Carousel
“You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific
“I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair” from South Pacific
“I Have Dreamed” from The King & I
“Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music
“All The Things You Are” from Very Warm for May

About Liz Callaway

Tony nominee and Emmy winner Liz Callaway made her Broadway debut in Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along.

She has gone on to star in BabyMiss SaigonThe Look of LoveThe Three Musketeers, and for 5 years appeared as Grizabella in Cats.  Off-Broadway credits include The Spitfire Grill (Drama Desk nomination), Marry Me a Little and Brownstone.  She also appeared in A Stephen Sondheim Evening, the legendary Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center, and Inside the Actor’s Studio: Stephen Sondheim. Regional and international credits include the one-person play Every Brilliant Thing, Dot in Sunday in the Park with George, Eva Peron in Evita, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, and the European premiere of Sondheim on Sondheim at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

Liz sang the Academy Award-nominated song “Journey to the Past” in the animated feature Anastasia. Other film work includes Jasmine in the two Aladdin sequels, The Swan PrincessBeauty and the Beast, and The Rewrite with Hugh Grant.

Her extensive concert and symphony career has included appearances in London, Paris, Iceland, Vietnam, Australia, China and nearly every major city in the U.S. She performs regularly with her sister Ann Hampton Callaway, as well as composer Stephen Schwartz, and has had the great pleasure of singing with Jimmy Webb, Paul Williams and the legendary Johnny Mathis.

Liz has seven solo recordings including her newest CD, Comfort and Joy—An Acoustic Christmas.

About Damian Humbley

Damian studied Theatre at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Theatre credits include: Local Hero (Edinburgh Lyceum Theatre), Merrily We Roll Along (Huntington Theatre Company, USA & Harold Pinter Theatre), Life of The Party (Bay Theatre Award – TheatreWorks SV, Menier Chocolate Factory) Lend Me A Tenor (Gielgud Theatre, London), The Woman In White (Palace Theatre London), Fiddler on the Roof (Savoy Theatre, London), The Last 5 Years, Spamilton (Menier Chocolate Factory), Forbidden Broadway (Vaudeville Theatre) Dicken’s Abridged (Arts Theatre), Putting It TogetherSongs For a New World (St James Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Salisbury Playhouse), Company (Sheffield Crucible), Little Shop Of Horrors (UK Tour).

About Rosena M. Hill Jackson

Rosena Hill Jackson has performed at Carnegie Hall with The New York Pops; Teatro di Massimo Symphony Orchestra in Palermo, Sicily; Teatro di Lirico Symphony Orchestra and chorus in, Sardegna; Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony Orchestra, Florida Sunshine Pops, Long Island Philharmonic, Sarasota Symphony, Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, Hartford Symphony, Wheeling Symphony and in the cast of Carousel with the New York Philharmonic for PBS “Live at Lincoln Center.”

On Broadway, Rosena stepped into the role of Nettie Fowler in Carousel, after the departure of Renée Fleming. Mrs. Jackson was chosen by Harold Prince to be a part of the principle cast of Prince Of Broadway, produced by the Manhattan Theater Club. She has performed with Patti LaBelle, Tony Braxton, Baby Face, K.D. Lang, Vanessa Williams, Gladys Knight and Fantasia in After MidnightCome Fly Away (Featured Vocalist); The Color Purple (Church Lady) with Fantasia; Monty Python’s Spamalot (Lady of the Lake) with Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce, Hank Azaria, Christopher Sieber; Imaginary Friends (Mrs. Stillman) with Swoosie Kurtz and Cherry Jones; Oklahoma (Ellen) 2002 revival with Patrick Wilson, Andrea Martin and Shuler Hensley; Riverdance on Broadway (Amanzi soloist); Marie Christine (Ophelia) with Audra McDonald and Vivian Reed and Ragtime (Sarah’s Friend)with LaChanze. On the 1st national tour of Ragtime (Sarah). Off-Broadway in Cotton Club Parade (Trio) at City Center with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Lost in the Stars (Mrs. Mckezie) at City Center; Tin Pan Alley Rag (Monisha, Miss Lee, the Librarian and Nedda) at the Roundabout; and the In Gathering.

Regional credits include in And the World Goes Round (Woman 1) at Pittsburgh Public Theater, Man Of La Mancha (Aldonza) at White Plains Performing Arts Center, Baby (Pam) at Papermill Playhouse, Dreamgirls (Michelle) at San Jose Repertory Theatre, Sacramento’s California Musical Theatre, Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre and North Carolina Theater, Lucky Stiff (Dominique du Monaco) at the York Theatre, Imaginary Friends (Soloist) at the Globe Theatre; CinderellaChessGypsyKiss Me, Kate, and La Cage aux Folles with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Ballad of Baby Doe (Meg) with the Opera Theatre of Pittsburgh, Aint’ Misbehavin (Armelia) at Playhouse on the Green, Brief History of White Music at Hanna Theater Cabaret , 1001 Nights (Sophie) at George Street Playhouse, Mandela (Winnie Mandela) at Crossroads, Carmen and La Boheme with the Sarasota Opera. Rosena has performed internationally for three seasons with Queen Esther Marrow and the Harlem Gospel Singers & Band touring in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Hungary and the Netherlands as a featured soloist.

Rosena Hill Jackson is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University holding a BFA in Music.

A native of Sarasota, Florida, Rosena’s CD If You Believe, combines jazz, gospel, and show tunes in honor of her late father.