Frohman, Charles

Frohman, Charles

(frō`mən), 1860–1915, American theatrical manager and producer, b. Sandusky, Ohio. Starting his career as a box-office clerk in Brooklyn, N.Y., Frohman became a successful producer with Bronson Howard's Shenandoah (1889). In 1893 he organized the Empire Theatre Stock Company. Soon he acquired five other New York City theaters and later headed the Theatrical Syndicate. He was known for his ability to develop talent; his stars included John Drew, Ethel Barrymore, E. H. Sothern, Julia Marlowe, Maude Adams, and Henry Miller. In 1897 he leased the Duke of York's Theatre, London, introducing plays there as well as in the United States. Clyde Fitch, J. M. Barrie, and Edmond Rostand were among the playwrights he promoted. The system of exchange of successful plays between London and New York was largely a result of his efforts. He was known as an exceptionally fair man whose word was his only contract. Frohman died at sea on the Lusitania.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Frohman, Charles

(1860–1915) theatrical agent, manager; born in Sandusky, Ohio (brother of Daniel Frohman). Interested in the theater from his youth, he settled in New York and worked at a variety of theaters and agencies, setting out as an independent manager in 1883 and then as a booking agent. He soon built up his Empire Stock Theatre Company, developing such notable actors as John Drew, Maude Adams and Ethel Barrymore, and he produced an endless series of plays in New York and London, encouraging new playwrights such as J. M. Barrie, Clyde Fitch, and Somerset Maugham. Less admirable was his Theatrical Syndicate, which dictated to many theaters throughout the U.S.A. and even in London. Extravagant as a personality and in his productions, he died while still active when he went down with the torpedoed Lusitania.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.