Martin Beck


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(1865–1940), theatre owner and manager. Details of his early years are uncertain. He emigrated from Germany while still a young man and soon became manager of a Chicago beer garden, where he induced the owner to build a stage and offer variety acts, and where he earned the nickname “Two Beers Beck.” In the 1890s he joined the young Orpheum circuit, bought into the group, and around 1906 became head of its New York office. In 1913 he opened the Palace Theatre in New York and quickly made it vaudeville's mecca, although E. F. Albee soon wrested control of the house from him. Profiting from his experience, he later built the Martin Beck Theatre, the first major legitimate playhouse west of Eighth Avenue and the only legitimate theatre with no mortgage. He also dabbled in producing and was the first man to bring the modern D'Oyly Carte company to America.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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