Klaw & Erlanger

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Klaw & Erlanger's production of Ben-Hur

Klaw & Erlanger was the New York City based theatrical production partnership of entrepreneur A.L. Erlanger and lawyer Marcus Klaw. The two began as a theatrical booking agency in 1886 before expanding into producing plays. In 1896, Klaw & Erlanger joined with Al Hayman, Charles Frohman, Samuel F. Nixon, and J. Fred Zimmerman, Sr. to form the "Theatrical Syndicate." This organization established systemized booking networks throughout the United States and created a monopoly that controlled every aspect of contracts and bookings until the late 1910s when the Shubert brothers broke their stranglehold on the industry.

Klaw & Erlanger controlled most of the theatres in the southern United States and put on their first Broadway production of Ben-Hur in November 1899. Between then and September 1924, they would produce 238 Broadway plays plus hundreds more at theatres they either owned or leased around the United States. As well, their partnership built a number of important theaters including New York City's famous New Amsterdam Theatre in 1903.

They were also involved in film production for some of their plays that were adapted to the screen. In the period between 1912 and 1915, their "Protective Amusement Company" stood as one of the five most important film production companies in the U.S. All of the five had ties to theatrical entrepreneurs, and all were hoping to leverage their theater chains: Famous Players Film Company, the World Film Company, the Jesse L. Lasky Company, and the Triangle Film Corporation.[1]

Their greed lead to the deaths of hundreds in the Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903.[citation needed]


  1. ^ The American theatrical film: stages in development, by John C. Tibbetts, page 64

External links[edit]