‘The Business of American Show Business’ is a research guide to the history of producing theatre in the United States. Covering a wide range of subjects, the book explores how traditions of investment, marketing, labor union contracts, advertising, leasing arrangements, ticket scalping, zoning ordinances, royalties, and numerous other financial transactions have influenced the art of theatre for the past three centuries. Yet the book is not a dry reiteration of hits and flops, bankruptcies and bamboozles, or everything about it that’s appealing, nor anything the traffic will allow. It is instead a highly readable resource for anyone interested in how money, and how much money, is critical to the art and artists of theatre. Many of those artists make appearances in the book: Richard Rodgers and his keen eye for investment, Jacob Shubert and his construction of the “Bridge of Thighs” for his showgirls at the Winter Garden, the significance of the Disney Souvenir Shop near the Lyceum Theatre on Broadway, and the difference between losing millions of dollars on a Broadway show and making billions—all in one night. Consider this book a “go-to” resource for readers, students, and scholars of the theatre business.
Part One: Introduction, Part Two: mini-essays, Part Three: chronology, Part Four: bibliography.