Henry Eugene Abbey

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Portrait of H. E. Abbey

Henry Eugene Abbey (June 27, 1846 – October 17, 1896) was an American theatre manager and producer. During the 1870s - 1890s, he managed such prominent Broadway theatres as Booth's, Wallack's, and the Park Theatre, promoting the talents of some of the foremost American actors of his day, as well as European stars. Abbey also had the distinction of being the first manager of New York's Metropolitan Opera Company, which opened for its inaugural season in 1883.

He managed the tours of Adelina Patti, Francesco Tamagno and the London Gaity in America, and he introduced Sarah Bernhardt to America. He opened Boston's Park Theatre in 1879.[1] He also opened Abbey's Theatre in 1890, one of the first theatrical managers to present expensive shows outside of the major cities. He resigned after a financially unsuccessful first season, but was re-hired in 1891, along with John B. Schoeffel and Maurice Grau. He continued in this capacity until his death in 1896.

One of his longest lasting legacies was his bringing a group of Spanish performers, known as the Spanish Students, to the United States.[2] These performers inspired imitators and gave rise to the widespread playing of the mandolin in the United States, where it was previously unknown.[3][4]

Henry Abbey was born in Akron, Ohio on June 27, 1846, to clockmaker Henry Stephen Abbey and Elizabeth Smith Abbey. He married Kate Kingsley in 1876, and had two children with her. He married again in 1886, to Florence Gerard. He died in New York City on October 17, 1896, at the age of 50.[5]

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References[edit]

  • Bordman, Gerald (1987). The Concise Oxford Companion to American Theatre. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-505121-1. 
  • Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Chicago, IL: Marquis Who's Who, 1967.

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