William Harris (theatrical producer)

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Portrait of William Harris (New York Public Library)

William Harris or Bill Harris (1844 – November 1916) was a Prussian-born American theatre producer and vaudevillian performer.[1] He performed as a blackface comedian in vaudeville with John Bowman from 1866-1873,[2] and with William Carroll, 1873-1879.[3] In the 1880s Harris oversaw the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, Massachusetts. As a theatre producer he worked in partnership with Isaac B. Rich, Klaw & Erlanger and Charles Frohman. By 1916 he had ownership in several theatres in the United States: the "Hudson, Fulton, Knickerbocker, Lyceum, Liberty, and New York Theatres" [in New York City]; the Hollis Street, Colonial, Boston and Tremont Theatres in Boston; and the Colonial Illinois, Blackstone, and Powers Theatres in Chicago."[1] His children included Henry B. Harris (1866-1912) and William Harris Jr. (1884-1946), both theatre producers.[1][4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "William Harris, Sr., stage veteran, dies; one of the oldest theatrical producers stricken with heart disease in Bayside home; he began as a minstrel; owner, or part owner, of many theatres in New York, Boston, and Chicago." New York Times, November 26, 1916
  2. ^ John Bowman (b. 1842). Edward Le Roy Rice (1911), Monarchs of minstrelsy, from "Daddy" Rice to date, New York city, N.Y: Kenny publishing company 
  3. ^ William J. Carroll (1853-1896). Rice, 1911
  4. ^ Gerald Martin Bordman, Thomas S. Hischak. The Oxford companion to American theatre, 3rd ed. Oxford University Press, 2004