Al Hayman


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(1847–1917), manager. Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, he apparently began his theatrical career as manager of a touring company of The Black Crook in 1871 that covered not only the Southern states but Mexico and Central America as well. Hayman managed the magician Harry Keller and ran M. B. Leavitt's Australian interests before he met Charles Frohman, and the two teamed up to present the hit Shenandoah and build the Empire Theatre in 1893. With Marc Klaw, A. L. Erlanger, and others they then formed the Theatrical Syndicate, or Trust, ostensibly to bring order out of chaotic booking practices but in reality to exert monopolistic powers over the theatres of their day. Hayman served from 1901 to 1904 as president of the Actors' Fund and was the largest personal contributor in the drive to erect a home for retired actors, which was opened during his tenure. Hayman's decision to leave artistic matters to Frohman and to allow Frohman lone public credit for productions mounted largely with Hayman's money meant that to playgoers he was little more than a shadowy figure. His fiscal acumen, however, was such that he left an estate of $1,692,815, while his more visible partner, Frohman, left behind a mere $451. Alf[red] HAYMAN (1865–1921), the younger brother of Al Hayman with whom he is sometimes confused, was also born in Wheeling and tried his hand in sales before his brother induced him to become treasurer of the Baldwin Theatre in San Francisco. By the mid-1890s he was right-hand man to Charles Frohman, and after Frohman's death he continued as head of Frohman's production company. Under the Frohman name he produced such shows as Dear Brutus (1918), Déclassée (1919), and Mary Rose (1920).

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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