The Boys from Syracuse: The Shuberts' Theatrical Empire

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From 1905 to the crash of 1929, Sam Shubert (1874-1905) and his brothers Lee (1874-1953) and J. J. (1878-1963), despite poor beginnings and near-illiteracy, created a theater monopoly unrivaled in history. Their ruthless business tactics and showmanship made 42nd Street the heart of American popular theater and won them the most sought-after stars of the day, including Al Jolson, Carmen Miranda, Eddie Cantor, Fanny Brice, Mae West, and Fred Astaire.

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Editorial Reviews

The Nation
Elegantly written.... Granted access to previously unpublished sources, Hirsch describes how, for the Shuberts, Broadway was Rome with a casting couch.
Show Music
Hirsch presents the fascinating Shubert story, drawing on interviews with family members and others who worked for the brothers.
Stage Directions
In The Boys from Syracuse: The Shuberts' Theatrical Empire, Foster Hirsch reveals an epic tale of business successes and shenanigans on an enormous scale. Making good use of original interview material, this vividly written chronicle... is an outstanding addition to the history of the American theater.
From the Publisher
“‘Empire builders second to none’ is how film and drama historian Foster Hirsch characterizes the Shubert brothers (Sam, Lee, and J.J.), who built a string of the­aters in New York City and across the country and were, at their peak in the 1920s, the rulers of Broadway. The Boys from Syracuse is Hirsch’s sweeping account of the Shubert family saga and the transformation of the twentieth-century theater.”—Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815411031
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/5/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST COOPER
  • Pages: 374
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.28 (h) x 0.82 (d)

Meet the Author

Foster Hirsch, a professor of film at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, is the author of Dark Side of the Screen, A Method to Their Madness, and Detours and Lost Highways, among many other books.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Acknowledgments xi
Prologue: The Last Shubert 1
1. The Boys in Syracuse 9
2. Sam Shubert Goes to Town 33
3. Lee and J. J., Front and Center 53
4. Power Plays 95
5. The Long-Distance Runners 123
6. All in the Family 163
7. The Man in the Blue Serge Suit 213
8. The Fall of the House of Shubert 245
9. The Lawyers 265
Notes 293
Bibliography 327
Index 335
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