EMPIRE THEATRE STOCK COMPANY. The Empire Theatre Stock Company ( New York, New York) evolved from the Charles Frohman Company, which had originated at Proctor's Twenty-third Street Theatre in 1890, and became established when Charles Frohman acquired a lease on the proscenium- equipped Empire Theatre. Built specifically for him and his company in 1892- 93 near the southeast corner of Broadway and Fortieth Street, the Empire was opened by Frohman on January 25, 1893, with his renamed company in a production of The Girl I Left Behind Me, a melodrama by David Belasco and Franklin Fyles.
The "combination system" had become the prevalent mode of company organization. Because Frohman's company was a fairly permanent one attached to one theatre and its members were hired to play "lines of business," promoted within those lines and engaged by seasonal contracts, it resembled the traditional stock organization of the Boston Museum, Wallack's, and other theatres. Frohman's company was transitional in the sense that it was representative of some of the changes made by Augustin Daly and other managers. Of the few remaining stock companies after the establishment of the combination system, Daly's, which had opened at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in 1870, was one of the more significant. He had adopted the long run and did not strictly adhere to the traditional lines of business for his company members. He established himself as the supreme authority over all aspects of production. Thus, the producer- director emerged to coordinate setting, lighting, costuming, and actors. Although Steele MacKaye in 1880 with his Madison Square Stock Company, Daniel Frohman in 1885 with his Lyceum Theatre Stock Company, and others followed Daly's leadership, the long run and the advent of typecasting sounded the death knell of the permanent stock company. When Wallack's closed in 1887, only four "major" stock companies--Daly's, A. M. Palmer's, Daniel Frohman's, and the Boston Museum--remained. At a time when most resident stock