“What’s greatly done is the way the home is positioned on the property to take advantage of (its surroundings).”
Real estate agent Anthony Lando is talking about the Waccabuc home of Fran and Barry Weissler, the Tony Award-winning producers who are perhaps best-known for their revival of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Bob Fosse musical “Chicago,” which originally starred Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and Weston’s James Naughton in a tale of lust and murder set in the Windy City of the Roaring ’20s. Still going strong before the coronavirus shut down the theater district, “Chicago” is the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history and the second-longest running show on Broadway, behind “The Phantom of the Opera.”
Like their infectious, toe-tapping show — whose smart observations about the media and celebrity make it a natural for the Instagram age — the Weisslers’ 18.4-acre estate “razzle-dazzles ’em” with a comfortably elegant country manor house, Versailles-style gardens, an outdoor theater and, well, “All That Jazz,” to quote the musical’s signature song.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the sunroom off the warm avocado and wood kitchen, with its dynamic green-striped wallpaper covering even the ceiling, cobalt-blue chandelier and chintz-covered wicker furnishings whose accents include a pillow reminder that “This is not a dress rehearsal.” Quite.
The set, uh, room — one of 17 in the main and guest houses, which total 8,900 square feet — opens onto a terrace with outdoor furniture, beyond which you spy the geometric hedge gardens.
It was in this room that Lando, who’s with Julia B. Fee/Sotheby’s International Realty in Irvington, met with the Weisslers to discuss listing their property for $13.2 million. (Lando shares the listing with Melissa Colabella.) During that meeting, he says, the couple reminisced about their early days, touring high schools, colleges and community venues with their professional National Theater Company. (Their Tony Award-winning careers would include “Othello” with James Earl Jones and Christopher Plummer and revivals of “Gypsy,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “La Cage aux Folles” and “Pippin.”) house reflects the Weisslers’ theatrical flair. Framed Playbill covers of Broadway triumphs turn an upstairs hallway into an art gallery. Modern and contemporary works pop from walls saturated in color, including one of eight bedrooms. (There are also nine bathrooms, seven of them full baths.)
The couple’s most spectacular artistic statement is the Beverly Pepper-designed outdoor amphitheater, set in a sunken oval that is ringed Stonehenge-like by cylindrical hedges. There guests have been treated to performances by Jones, Plummer, Tommy Tune and the New York Philharmonic. Other sculpted works play more quietly, as in the Hanneke Beaumont figure that seems to be walking across the reflecting pond.
“It’s its own Storm King,” Lando says, referring to the monumental outdoor modern and contemporary art center in New Windsor across the Hudson River.
With so much enchantment, who would want to leave? Alas, the Weisslers, who have divided their time between New York and Florida, have other properties and projects to consider.
“They’ve been here for 20 years,” Lando says. “Time to move on and let someone else enjoy it.”
For more, call Anthony Lando at 917-843-9076 or Melissa Colabella at 914-438-0139 or visit landolistings.com.