Charles Frohman was one of the most influential American theatrical producers at the turn of the last century. He also played an important role in the early 20th century London Theatrical scene.
Having co-founded the American Theatrical Syndicate which virtually controlled the American theatre industry he was always on the look-out for shows for American theatres. He was a frequent visitor to London and worked closely with the likes of George Edwards at the Gaiety and the actor manager Sir Seymour Hicks. At the time London was the centre of musical theatre and he imported shows such as The Shop Girl, In Town and An Artist’s Model, shows which had basically introduced musical comedy to the world.
It was not long before he started to produce in London with shows like Kitty Grey (with Edwards) and the Christmas production Bluebird in Fairyland (with Hicks). He was a great searcher of writing talent and, among others, he promoted J M Barrie’s Quality Street, The Admirable Crichton and the evergreen Peter Pan which opened at his Duke of York’s Theatre in London in December 1904 and then on Broadway a few weeks later. He also ran the Hicks (the Globe) Theatre.
In the next ten years his productions included The Girl from Kays, The School Girl, Madam Sherry, The Catch of the Season, The Beauty of Bath and The Pink Lady.
Shows he did not produce but exported to the States include The Arcadians, Miss Hook of Holland and the Gaiety shows.
He joined the Lusitania in New York having been warned of possible German attacks. It has been said that he gave his life jacket to a lady and so decided his fate. He was 59 and had produced over seven hundred shows between the two countries.
In 1916 the show Sybil opened in London and was advertised as Charles Frohman presents – almost as though he was still there overseeing things. And, now on Broadway he can be seen as a main character in the new musical Finding Neverland. His presence is still felt.
RSB Illustrations are simply an indication as to the items in the Archive