The Bishop of Broadway: the Life & Work of David Belasco

By Craig Timberlake | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
DAVID AND GOLIATH

THE emergence of the all-powerful Theatrical Syndicate was an inevitable development in the changing economy of the American theater. As a young apprentice in San Francisco, Belasco had witnessed the decline of the resident stock company and the gradual evolution of the so-called combination system. The star system, inherited from England, was the villain responsible for this profound change in the complexion of the theater. With improved rail transportation facilities, stars began to pay more frequent visits to the local stock companies scattered across the continent. As popular favorites demonstrated their drawing power at the box office, rival managers outbid each other for their services and discounted the increased financial outlay by scrimping on scenery and equipment and

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