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Charles Frohman and brothers Daniel and Gustave
EJ Phillips' career was ending at the Theatrical Syndicate began, but she knew the Frohmans and Al Hayman, and worked for Charles Frohman from 1892 or 1893 until 1897. Gustave Frohman traveled with some of her companies as well.
Charles Frohman (1860-1915)
Youngest of the three theatrical Frohman brothers, his career as a producer was
launched with Bronson
Howard's Shenandoah. He
organized a stock company in 1890 and built the Empire
Theatre with Al
Hayman in 1893.
Charles Frohman c1914 Frohmans and EJ Phillips 1892=1897
Empire Theatre "For many years the oldest and most prestigious playhouse in New York [all the earlier ones seem to have burned down], built by Al Hayman and Charles Frohman. Stood directly across Broadway from the Metropolitan Opera House, one door away from 40th Street. [Oxford] "With just over 1,000 seats it was a compact, well-designed playhouse and a favorite among actors and audiences. Concise Oxford Companion Empire Theatre Charles Frohman 1430 Broadway, at 40th St.
The Theatrical Syndicate:
Norman Hapgood, The Theatrical Syndicate, International Monthly Vol 1, Jan 1900 99-122 http://books.google.com/books?id=zrs0AAAAMAAJ&source=gbs_navlinks_s
On August 31, 1896 six men gathered at the Holland House Hotel to discuss the creation of what would be name The Theatrical Syndicate. Abraham Lincoln Erlanger, Charles Frohman, Al Hayman, Marc Klaw, Samuel Nixon, and Fred Zimmerman pooled their resources--theatres that they owned, leased, and booked--to create more rational trips for theatres troops when they were on the Road. They told the theatre world that they would rid the theatre business of managers who booked several shows a night to ensure a performance (leaving the extra shows with nothing). They promised they would help the producers cut expenses by booking the troop in a logical route with stops all along the way. The rise of the Syndicate was a logical progression now that performances were on The Road, but with this new trust, both the show and the theatre itself were controlled by one company. Soon the Syndicate had created a monopoly which only allowed performers and houses to work with Syndicate products or not at all. Abby Manzella, The Syndicate and the Shuberts, University of Virginia 2000 http://xroads.virginia.edu/~hyper/incorp/theatre/syndicate.html
Frohman and several other men met secretly in 1895
"to organize what became known as the Theatrical
Syndicate or Trust. Ostensibly
the group's aim was to bring order out of chaos in cross-country bookings, but
it soon controlled all the important theatres in the country and demanded
exorbitant fees from producers and performers....Frohman recognized that a star
could attract audiences even when his or her vehicle was weak, while a fine play
without a star often had to struggle for business. It remains important to note
that not all the plays Frohman offered were merely effective but ephemeral
theatre pieces. He was responsible for the American premieres of many works by
such significant and durable playwrights as Oscar
Wilde, Sir James Barrie, Arthur Wing Pinero, Somerset Maugham and
Georges Feydeau. Charles Frohman was at the height of his career when he died in
the sinking of the Lusitania. He had been described as a "little round,
slant-eyed Buddha". Oxford Companion to the American Theater
Wayne S. Turney http://theatreideas.blogspot.com/2009/02/relevance-of-syndicate.html
Daniel Frohman (1851-1940)
eventually abandoned producing, but stayed active in the theatre, serving as
president of the Actors
Fund from 1904-1940
Daniel Frohman 1907 aged 56
Percy MacKaye, son of Steele MacKaye, wrote in his father's biography Epoch of Daniel Frohman "From my early childhood I remember "Dan" Frohman, as a genial friend of our family, later as a fellow member of The Players, and of course, as the warm-hearted friend and keen-minded counsellor of all theatre folk (especially of the aged in the Actor's Home). and in a note: "Steele MacKaye" Daniel Frohman wrote in 1926, "was my boss at the old Madison Square theatre, where he produced, in Feb 1880, his famous play, Hazel Kirke, which there made the longest run in theatrical history. I had been his "advance agent" and Mr. MacKaye engaged me as the business manager at that playhouse."
Gustave Frohman (c 1854-1930) Detroit, May 15, 1896 Gustave Frohman is an enthusiast on the subject [of bicycles], and I think will kill himself overdoing the thing. Gustave Frohman
Al Hayman (1847-1917) Partner of Charles Frohman, who provided the financial backing behind the successful producer, and enabled them to build the Empire Theatre in New York in 1893. "Hayman's decision to leave artistic matters to Frohman and to allow Frohman lone public credit for productions mounted largely with Hayman's money meant that to playgoers he was little more than a shadowy figure. His fiscal acumen, however was such that he left an estate of $1,692,815, while his more visible partner, Frohman, left behind a mere $451." Oxford
NY Times Aug 11 1911 Al Hayman Quits Theatrical Field Al Hayman for more than twenty years has been one of the big men of the theatrical business in America. His name was seldom seen in connection with the theatrical companies and to the general public he was almost unknown, but within the profession and particularly on the financial side , he has been a factor of greatest importance. Mr. Hayman is known to be the wealthiest individual the theatrical syndicate and he has been recognized as a careful and skillful investor. It was in 1883 that Mr. Hayman began to make a fortune in the theatrical business. He went to San Francisco in that year, when railroad fares were high and transportation was difficult, and leased the Baldwin Theatre, built by “Lucky” Baldwin, and then unoccupied. He became a producing manager, organizing companies and bringing attractions from the East. Six years later  he began operations in New York. https://www.nytimes.com/1911/08/11/archives/al-hayman-quits-theatrical-field-wealthiest-member-of-the-syndicate.html EJ Phillips was in San Francisco in 1883.
San Francisco, Aug 14, 1886 Well, it is now decided that we do not go to Los Angeles. We play here five weeks, that is three more after this which ends tonight, a week in Sacramento, and then Salt Lake and Denver and Omaha. That ends our engagement under the management of Al Hayman.
Boston, 1888 When [Al] Hayman the California manager sees the casts of the plays [going to California] I think he will be justified to "Kick". I cannot imagine what A.M.P[almer] is about!
NY Times 1911 article on the Syndicate and Hayman's
retirement to Europe
Joseph Humphreys (1861-1904) A clerk in a dry-goods store and employed by several circuses before becoming a character actor and director for the Kirally brothers. In 1889 Charles Frohman put him in charge of casting all Frohman productions (except for their stars) and made him his house director. His briskness and firmness antagonized many performers, but Frohman admired his work and kept him at this post until his death. Bordman Oxford Companion
EJ Phillips seemed to share Frohman's opinion and speaks well of him. New York, Aug,.30 1895 "I like my new stage manager Mr. Humphreys very much in that he is very thorough and energetic and puts on no airs. He has done more in three days with his play than the Hollands and Mansfield combined did in five weeks. We have no waiting at rehearsals. We begin on time and get through without any trouble. Best stage Management I have seen since Union Square days."
Gay Parisians program, Chestnut St. Theatre, week beginning Mon. Dec. 14,  Produced under the Stage directions of Joseph Humphreys
NY Times obituary May 22, 1904 Died at sea sailing from Southampton to New York, shortly after passing Nantucket. "Charles Frohman's right hand man for fifteen years" https://www.nytimes.com/1904/05/22/archives/joseph-humphreys-dies-on-st-louis-passed-away-when-liner-was-within.html
John Nickinson's daughter from his first marrige Isabella Nickinson Walcot and her husband Charles Walcot were in the Walnut Street Theatre Company, Philadlephia before joining Daniel Frohman's New York company in 1887
2116 Warnock Street
July 1st 1888
Friday we received the wedding cards of Sarah Cowell & Mr. [William J.] LeMoyne. I think they will soon start for California with the Lyceum Co. [LeMoyne had been dismissed from the Madison Square Company in April 1887 because he had signed with Daniel Frohman and the Lyceum Company.] Should I go to California [with AM Palmer] , we are to start about the 5th or 6th of August.
3207 Clifford Street
June 27th 1892
Mr. Ramsey Morris was with us in our late visit to Chicago. Paid salaries and procured tickets for our return. I was introduced to him there. He is said to be an excellent business man. Has been with the Frohmans for some time. He obtained Mr. Palmer's consent to address me about the engagement. It is to be strictly a Stock Co, no stars. ... The first play is to be Joseph which I am sure Mr. Palmer was going to produce sometime ago. All these things tend to make me believe AM [Palmer] is at the back of it, but for various reasons does not wish to make it known and you need not mention my ideas about it outside your own house, but I think you will find we shall follow Bronson Howard's play at Palmer's Theatre at the end of its run there with Joseph. The Co is to be first class in every respect, play in first class theaters &c,&c. I think I shall be able to stand the travel. If I could have my children around me I would not want to travel but as it is I shall not feel so lonesome in hotels as I do in boarding houses in New York.
New York, Mar 19, 1893 I went behind the scenes during last act of Lady Windermere's Fan at Palmer's yesterday afternoon.
New York, April 12, 1893 [Mr. Palmer] offers me an engagement with Chas Frohman for next season to play in Lady Windermere's Fan. Season begins Sept 15th.
Septr 10th [1893 Philadelphia] [Neppie's birthday Sept 11th; EJP's birthday Sept 7th] Accept the enclosed as a part of your birthday gift. It would be more only I rec'd a telegram at 4:30 yesterday to go to N.Y. tomorrow to see Mr. Palmer about playing the Duchess inLady Windermere's Fan for Mr. Chas Frohman. I have to use a part of your birthday gift until I get back to draw from the bank [first mention of a bank]. John did not draw any yesterday and I have to go to N.Y. & return on $10. ... If I succeed tomorrow in closing an engagement with Mr. Frohman, I shall soon have to go to New York, for rehearsals and dressmaking (two expensive dresses for the part!) and will soon be able to see you.
New York, Monday 18th Septr  Rehearsal for 2 weeks in Lady Windermere's Fan and play in Harlem on the 2nd of Octr under Mr. Chas Frohman's management, with whom I have signed a contract for season of 93 -94
Rooms single or en suite
Milwaukee, Novr 8th 1893
My dear daughter Neppie,
Cleveland, Ohio Friday Novr 17th, 1893 The clipping you sent from the Sun is one of many in which Mr. [AM] Palmer still uses my name, but I do not think it will do him any good. I think Chas Frohman will fulfill his contract with me for this season, and then will perhaps want me for the next season. In going to California with Palmers Co I would still be under Chas Frohman's & [Al] Hayman's management. It is a mixed up affair all around. In fact a game of Battledore and Shuttle-cock. And the Actor is the latter and the manager Battledores him where ever he pleases.
St. Louis Decr 10th 1893 Mr. [AM] Palmer sent to Mr. [Charles] Frohman to release me for California. Mr. Frohman sent Mr. [JG] Saville to me to ask if I wanted to go, and that he, Mr. Frohman, did not want me to go. So I said I did not want to under any circumstances. And Mr. Frohman made me an offer of resting this week. Would pay my salary and send me to Phila so that I would be well rested to join the Co in Baltimore, but as I could rest next week I told them I preferred working this week unless I got very tired and would then take their offer and go home from Terre Haute on Friday.
St Louis, Octr 16th 1894 You will be surprised to receive this from so far a distance, unless Hattie has written to you since I left. I had received a telegram from Gustave Frohman on Friday asking me if I could play the "Duchess" in [Lady] Windermere's Fan for this week in St Louis. I answered yes, and on Saturday Morning about 9 rec'd another telegram from him telling me to start by Penn RR.
I do not know how my affairs are going to turn out. The Palmer
Co open in San F'co on Xmas day and my name is on the list and has been rumoured
in the papers as going with them, but so far nothing has been said to me by
Palmer or [Charles]
about the matter. If they do want me, I shall kick considerably against going,
for the Company is to play new plays almost every week for three months which
means daily rehearsals, eight performances and getting dresses ready for each
new play. I do not think my strength would hold out and there certainly would
not be any money in it for me at present salary. If they are willing to double
my salary then I may accept, if asked!
We go to St Louis the week beginning Decr 4th. The week following I do not know yet what becomes of us yet! Week before Xmas I hear we close. Xmas week we are either in Washington or Baltimore and New Years day open in Philadelphia for two or more weeks at Broad St theatre. This is supposed to be the route of this Co but it appears Messrs Frohman and Palmer engage people and pass them to each other as they see proper without asking "by your leave" of the actor. The Actor's life is not now a happy one.
Philadelphia, Mar. 24, 1894 Mr. Frank Connor tells me he has had an interview with Mr. Humphreys at the Empire Theater and he told Mr. Conner that at present there was nothing being done in regard to new plays or "casts". So for the present there is no sense in my going to NY and presenting myself to the New York Managers.
Charles Frohman's first foreign star, who paved the way for so many, was Olga Nethersole. His management of her came about in a curious way. A difference had arisen between Augustin Daly and Ada Rehan. Miss Rehan had decided to withdraw from the company, and in casting about quickly for a successor had decided upon Olga Nethersole, then one of the most prominent of the younger English actresses. While the deal was being consummated Daly and Miss Rehan adjusted their differences, and the arrangements for Miss Nethersole's appearance in American were abrogated. Miss Nethersole was left without an American manager. Daniel Frohman, then manager of the Lyceum Theater, stepped in and became her American sponsor, forming a partnership with his brother Charles to handle her interests. Jointly they now conducted an elaborate tour for her covering two years, in which she appeared in "Denise," "Frou-Frou," "Camille," and "Carmen.": Charles Frohman 1916
A 1901 Cosmopolitan article "Through bad business arrangements and misunderstandings, three managers claimed her on her arrival, Frohman, Daly and Marcus Meyer. As none of these was sure of possession the new star was not properly advertised." https://books.google.com/books?id=WIPW3N-PjncC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
Philadelphia, Sept. 18, 1894 I am trying through Marcus Mayer to get with the new English star, Miss Olga Nethersole -- who plays legitimate roles -- and is to a certain extent under the management of [Augustin] Daly. The lady is expected to arrive next week, when matters will be settled and engagements made. And I hope to be one of the fortunate ones. No engagements have yet been made, except that she brings her "leading" man with her.
Pittsburgh, Pa Novr 27th 1894 Opened last night to a fair house in Camille. I think the audience was pleased with Nethersole & hope business will increase.
We begin rehearsing Frou-Frou this Morning, but when it is to be played I do not know. I was in high hopes we had done with rehearsals for a time, but this very ambitious young Nethersole is determined to keep us at work. I did not have time to think since we commenced in New York until Friday last, when for the first day we had no rehearsal. It has been something dreadful but to my own astonishment I have pulled through
Chicago Feb. 1895 I am glad you and your friends enjoyed Camille but am sorry you will not be able to see Romeo & Juliet - for we do not return to New York to play at [Stanford White's]Garden Theatre or any other theatre with Miss Olga [Nethersole] at present.
Boston April 7, 1895 Last night we closed our Season with Camille and after the curtain fell Miss [Olga] Nethersole gave us a champagne & sandwich farewell.
51 East 21st St NY, 9-11 -95 Today it was rumoured, and I heard it was announced in some of yesterday's papers - that we open on the 19th in Buffalo, NY for three nights and Saturday matinee, and return to open on the 23rd at Hoyt's [Madison Square] Theatre for a run. Mr. Chas Frohman is attending rehearsals, is very pleasant and seems to be well pleased with the work of the company.
Jany 2nd 1895 "I rec'd a telegram from Maud [Harrison] who is in Pittsburgh, where she opened on Monday night in The Girl I Left Behind Me Co, Chas Frohman, manager. And she made a success, although she has had a very short notice for the part.
3219 Clifford Street
April 17th, 1895
My dear Son,
I am afraid there will not be any chance for me to obtain any employment for the Summer. Had a note from Mr. [Robert] Taber, today, in answer to mine says "I regret that your terms were such, that it made it impossible for me to arrange with you". Have replied that "I am sorry the terms were not satisfactory, but thank you for the offer". So that is off.
Olga [Nethersole] comes back in October, but under the management of Daniel & Chas Frohman, and it may be she will bring a company of her own from England, as she is to have a "permanent company with her". My love & Kisses to my dear children Neppie, Ted and yourself - from your loving Mother
6 PM Thursday July 26,1895
My dear Son,
I suppose you have had a telegram for me this afternoon. It has come to me - is from Mrs. [EL] Fernandez - wanting to know my terms for next season with Chas Frohman. I have wired her "Same terms as in Lady Windermere. I do not expect to be able to start before Saturday morning dear to see you. Now this business will detain me even a little longer. Will not surprise me if it is to join the [Olga] Nethersole Company. She is to open at the Empire Theatre in October. I have to go to the dressmaker at 11 AM tomorrow and will call on Mrs. Fernandez before that. Love to you all from Mother Hattie has wired me that Mrs. Fernandez has sent a telegram to me
New York, Nov. 29, 1895 By today's Herald I see that Chas Frohman is going to put John Drew in Palmer's Theatre on Jany 6th, and that I guess has given rise to the report that he was trying to get a theatre to put us in on January 6th, but I guess we will have to go to Brooklyn and Harlem and dear knows where! before getting to Boston when we are to stay for a "run" (4 weeks I guess)
July 25th 1896
My dear Son,
Well. dear, on Monday night 7:30 I settled with Gustave Frohman (for Chas Frohman) for next season. Beginning in San Francisco August 17th. Leave here on Sunday August 9th, due in "Frisco on Wednesday and rest there until Monday 17th when we open at Baldwin Theatre for 2 weeks. Travel down the coast and up as far as San Diego and back up as far as British Columbia. Play in Victoria and Vancouver. Then back over the old road to Salt Lake, Denver &c until we reach Phila to play there four weeks.
T H E K N U T S F O R D
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City Sept 26th 1896
My dear daughter Neppie,
On Sunday Morning in Vancouver, BC Mr. [Daniel] Frohman invited me with three others of the company to take a drive in Forest Park, and a more beautiful drive I never enjoyed. The grand old trees & the water views were beautiful. We were driven by the same man who had taken Li-Hung-Chang through the City and Park five days before. We were a little too late to see the great man -- who was royally received in Vancouver.
It is four thousand miles from Vancouver to New York. Perhaps you didn't know I had been so far away. Last night Mr. [Gustave] Frohman came behind the scenes very much elated over a letter he had rec'd from his brother Charles [Frohman] saying that in May next he was going to send Gay Parisians and Too Much Johnson to Australia. The Company would start out from New York in May and be back in November. Did not exactly ask me to go, but was doing all he could to get my ideas about it. I do not see much money in it for myself. There would be ten weeks at least going and returning, without any salary and under heavy expenses all the time. I think in the end I would be paying for the privilege of playing. And it would pay better for me to watch Albert's garden "sass" [home garden] grow and help to eat it when it was ready next summer.
"Open all year"
Cable address "Aragon Atlanta"
Friday Feby 1897
My dear Son,
Played last night to a good house. Play this afternoon and tonight - and leave very early in the morning for Pensacola Florida. Play there tomorrow night and Sunday push on to New Orleans where we are to open on Sunday night.
This has been a most trying two weeks I have ever gone through in travelling, and I do not think I could stand another two like them. I look for pretty hard work and discomfort in New Orleans next week. The crowds will be annoying and the accommodations very scarce and expensive, but I hope to pull through.
They are sending some of the Co home to New York by boat - a five days ride, but Mr. Zack has said he will try and send me by rail - and I hope he will be successful. I do not care for boating in March on the Atlantic Coast. I hope to reach Phila by Wednesday 10th of March. And Love and Kisses to my dear children Albert, Neppie & Teddie darling from their loving Mother
Atlanta Constitution Feb 24, 1897 The attraction at the Grand Thursday and Friday will be "The Gay Parisians," with the original company which was seen for 200 consecutive nights at Hoyt's theater, New York, followed by long runs in Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Manager Charles Frohman sends here also the entire original scenery used in the New York...Feb 25 An amusing farce is to be seen at the Grand tonight and Friday. It is "The Gay Parisians," a comedy which Manager Charles Frohman has presented with great success in New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia, with probably one of the most excellent companies that has been seen in farce for many years. Feb 26 The patrons of the Grand were treated to a clever farce comedy production last night in "The Gay Parisians." All the parts were well cast and the play was one of the most amusing seen here this season.
Charles Frohman tried to get Oscar Wilde to write again after he was released from prison. Was it true that An Ideal Husband was still running in London after Oscar Wilde's conviction and imprisonment? It certainly seems to have been produced in California later that year.
Producer Daniel Frohman wrote "It is true that Oscar Wilde was proficient in all branches of literature; as a novelist, as an essayist, as a short story writer, as a poet and as a dramatist. ... few writers have excelled him in wit, satire and in epigrammatic speeches. First, before everything else, he was a dramatist. ... I was not fortunate enough to have known [Wilde] personally, although I produced several of his plays, the first of which ws, "An Ideal Husband" at the old Lyceum, March 12th, 1895. [Wilde's first trial was in April 1895.] My brother Charles [Frohman] also produced Wilde's plays including, "Lady Windermere's Fan." This was Oscar Wilde's first great play ...It is my belief that Wilde would have been another Sheridan if he had not fallen on evil days." Daniel Frohman Presents, 1935.
The New York Times had a number of articles on the Wilde trials in 1895 and the New York Clipper had some. Did EJ Phillips read any of them? She certainly kept his cigarette card and I can only imagine that she appreciated the cleverness of his plays and the beneficial effect Lady Windermere had on her career. It has closed by the time of his trial, so it seems unlikely that his own troubles influenced her employment prospects.
Frohman, Daniel, Daniel Frohman Presents, New York, C. Kendall & W. Sharp [c1935]
Frohman, Daniel, Memories of a Manager Reminiscences of the Old Lyceum and some players of the last quarter century, 1911 http://books.google.com/books?id=OydaAAAAMAAJ&dq=inauthor:%22Daniel+Frohman%22&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Marcosson, Isaac F., Daniel Frohman, Charles Frohman Manager and Man, New York : Harper Brothers, 1916. http://books.google.com/books?id=0o8ZAAAAYAAJ&dq=Charles+Frohman+Manager+and+Man,&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Bordman, Gerald Martin, Oxford Companion to the American Theatre, New York : Oxford University Press, 2004 http://books.google.com/books?id=DiI1wIyatvUC&dq=inauthor:%22Gerald+Martin+Bordman%22&source=gbs_navlinks_s
Last Updated Dec. 29, 2019
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