American Theatre Companies, 1888-1930

By Weldon B. Durham | Go to book overview
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Gold Diggers, The Old Homestead, The Four Flusher, The French Doll, Little Old New York, Nothing but the Truth, Irene, The Copperhead, Little Miss Bluebeard, A Pair of Sixes, The Loves of Su Shong, The Misleading Lady, Silence, A Full House, The Goose Hangs High, Oh! Boy, The Great Divide, The Family Upstairs, Spooks, Experience, Our Little Wife, Lawful Larceny, Parlor, Bedroom and Bath, Mary, Applesauce, Mrs. Murphy's Second Husband, In Love with Love.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Published Sources:

Billboard, 1924-26.

Schenectady Gazette, 1924-26.

Hart Larry. Schenectady's Golden Era, 1880- 1930. Scotia, New York: Old Dorp Books, 1974.

Mari Kathleen Fielder

BONSTELLE PLAYHOUSE COMPANY. See DETROIT CIVIC THEATRE.

BURBANK THEATRE STOCK COMPANY. Oliver Morosco (born Oliver Mitchell, 1875-1945) and his brother Leslie entered the entertainment field as acrobats in a circus owned by Walter Morosco, from whom the boys took their professional names. Oliver then assisted Walter Morosco in the management of a theatre featuring vaudeville and "blood-and-thunder" melodrama in San Francisco and San Jose, California. In 1899 at age twenty-three he leased the perennially bankrupt Burbank Theatre (built in 1893), where he featured the T. Daniel Frawley Company for a profitable eight-week season. Over the next three years, Morosco engaged touring single-play companies as well as traveling groups with a repertory of plays. His experience with the [James] Neill Stock Company*, with Frawley's reliable group, and with a short-lived troupe he organized in partnership with his brother Leslie (by 1900 a successful San Francisco theatre manager) convinced Morosco that a permanent stock company would enhance the profitability of the Burbank Theatre. On June 26, 1904, he announced the opening of the Oliver Morosco Stock Company, as it was called at first. The Morosco Company was to play continually in the Burbank Theatre for the next thirteen years. In 1917, it was disbanded and its members absorbed into the new Morosco Stock Company* which flourished until 1928.

Morosco's major competition came from the Belasco Theatre Stock Company, established in 1904 by Frederick Belasco, owner and manager of the highly successful Alcazar Theatre Stock Company* in San Francisco. When, in 1906, Belasco scored a coup by temporarily cornering the Los Angeles market for stock plays managed by New York agents, Morosco, in desperation, produced plays by local authors. In South Car'liney, written by Morosco and Henry Cottrell and first produced the week of January 15, 1905, confirmed Morosco's belief that he could sell new plays to Los Angeles.

By 1908 Morosco was being deluged by new plays from unknown and unproduced playwrights. He searched in vain for four years for usable commercial

-68-

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