Beautifully engraved certificate from the Shubert Advanced Vaudeville, Inc.
issued in 1922. This historic document was printed by the American Banknote Company and has an
ornate border around it with the company's name on top center. This item has the signatures of Jacob Shubert and Lee Shubert, and is over 95 years old.
The Shubert Organization was founded by the Shubert brothers, Sam S. Shubert, Lee Shubert, and Jacob J. Shubert of Syracuse, New York – colloquially and collectively known as "The Shuberts" – in the late 19th century in upstate New York, entering into New York City productions in 1900. The organization produced a large number of shows and began acquiring theaters. Sam Shubert died in 1905; by 1916 the two remaining brothers had become powerful theater moguls with a nationwide presence.
In 1907, the Shuberts tried to enter vaudeville with the United States Amusement Co. In the spring of 1920 they made another attempt, establishing the Shubert Advanced Vaudeville
with Lee Shubert as President and playing two shows per day in Boston, Dayton, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago, Philadelphia and in September 1921 opening in New York.
In April 1922, the Shuberts teamed with Isidore Herk and E. Thomas Beatty to form the Affiliated Theatres Corporation, which would book shows for the chain. Faced with fierce competition from the B. F. Keith Circuit, the Shuberts closed their vaudeville operation in February 1923.
By 1929, the Shubert Theatre chain included Broadway's most important venues, the Winter Garden, the Sam S. Shubert, and the Imperial Theaters, and owned, managed, operated, or booked nearly a thousand theaters nationwide. The company continued to produce stage productions in New York until the 1940s, returning to producing Broadway productions in the 1970s after a hiatus.
The company was reorganized in 1973, and as of 2016 owned or operated seventeen Broadway theaters in New York City, two off-Broadway theaters — Stage 42 and New World Stages — and the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia. It leases Boston's Shubert Theatre to the Citi Performing Arts Center. Shubert Ticketing, which includes Telecharge, handles tickets for 70 theaters.
Several former Shubert-owned theaters across the United States are still referred to by the Shubert name. One of the most famous is the New Haven Shubert, the second theater ever built by the Shubert Organization. Until the 1970s, major Broadway producers often premiered shows there before opening in New York. It was immortalized in many mid-20th century films, such as All About Eve.
Another important regional theater was the Shubert in Chicago, Illinois, located within the Majestic Building at 22 West Monroe Street. Originally known as the Majestic Theatre, the Shubert Organization purchased it in 1945 and rechristened it the "Sam Shubert Theatre". The Shuberts sold the theatre to the Nederlander Organization in 1991 and is now known as the CIBC Theatre.
In 2016, it sold longtime headquarters at 1700 Broadway, to Ruben Cos for $280 million.
Levi "Lee" Shubert (March 25, 1871– December 25, 1953) was a Lithuanian-born American theatre owner/operator and producer and the eldest of seven siblings of the theatrical Shubert family.
Born to a Jewish family, the son of Duvvid Schubart and Katrina Helwitzin, in Vladislavov, in the Suwałki Governorate of Congress Poland, a part of the Russian Empire (present-day Kudirkos Naumiestis, Lithuania), Shubert was 11 years old when the family emigrated to the United States and settled in Syracuse, New York, where a number of Jewish families from their hometown already were living. His father's alcoholism kept the family in difficult financial circumstances, and Lee Shubert went to work selling newspapers on a street corner. With borrowed money, he and younger brothers Sam and Jacob eventually embarked on a business venture that led to them to become the successful operators of several theaters in upstate New York.
The Shubert brothers decided to expand to the huge market in New York City, and at the end of March 1900 they leased the Herald Square Theatre at the corner of Broadway and 35th Street in Manhattan. Leaving younger brother Jacob at home to manage their existing theatres, Lee and Sam Shubert moved to New York City where they laid the foundations for what was to become the largest theatre empire in the 20th century, including the Winter Garden and Shubert Theatres.
The all-powerful Theatrical Syndicate essentially excluded competition. Since the Shuberts were not permitted to use Syndicate-controlled theaters, they put on shows in rented circus tents, holding "three times as many customers as the typical theater." In 1910, they formed the "Independent National Theatre Owner's Association," which brought about the defection of many theaters from all around the country that previously had been affiliated with the Syndicate. In 1922, it was announced that "Lee Shubert and A. L. Erlanger...rivals for twenty years" had reached a working understanding.
Lee Shubert was a hard nosed businessman who has been criticized for being money and power oriented with little interest in culture. Nonetheless, he recognized the need to attract some of the top stage actors from the long-established European theatres to perform at the new Broadway houses. After a disastrous production of Hamlet in 1901 at a competitor's theatre, French megastar Sarah Bernhardt vowed never to return to America until Lee Shubert convinced her to perform for his company in 1905. He was also responsible for introducing singer Carmen Miranda to the american public in 1939.
JACOB J. SHUBERT(1880-1963) “The man who produced a
thousand shows.” Introduced Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Fanny
Brice, Ray Bolger, and many others.
Jacob J. Shubert was naturalized American theatre owner/operator and producer and a member of the famous theatrical Shubert family.
Born in Neustadt, Poland (now Kudirkos Naumiestis, Lithuania), he was the sixth child and third son of Duvvid Schubart and Katrina Helwitz. Jacob was still a small child when the family emigrated to the United States, settling in Syracuse, New York where a number of Jewish families from their hometown were already living.
His father's alcoholism kept the family in difficult financial circumstances and both he and his older brothers received little in the way of education and had no choice but to go to work at a young age. With borrowed money, he and brothers Sam and Lee Shubert eventually embarked on a business venture that led to them becoming the successful operators of several theatre houses in upstate New York.
The Shubert brothers decided to expand their theatrical operations and in 1900 Sam and Lee Shubert moved to New York City leaving Jacob at home to manage their existing theatres. In New York, the elder Shuberts laid the foundations for what was to become the largest theatre empire in the 20th century including Broadway's Winter Garden and Shubert Theatres. However, in 1905 Sam Shubert was traveling to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on business when the passenger train he was on collided with several freight cars and he died as a result of injuries sustained in the train wreck. His death changed the brother's business dynamics and Jacob assumed a much larger role.
Together, although often feuding, Jacob and Lee Shubert overcame the stranglehold on the industry by the Theatrical Syndicate's monopoly under Abe Erlanger and Mark Klaw to build the largest theatre empire in the 20th century.
Jacob Shubert's son, John, took over as head of the operations in the 1950s but died unexpectedly in 1962 and a year later, Jacob died around age 84.
He was interred in the family plot in the Salem Fields Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.
History from Wikipedia and
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