The Shubert family was responsible for the establishment of the Broadway district, in New York City, as the hub of the theatre industry in the United States. The family's American history began, in 1882, with Duvvid Schubart (transliterated to "Shubert") and his wife Katrina Helwitz, who left their native town Vladislavov, Russian Empire (now Kudirkos Naumiestis, Lithuania), with their seven children, to settle in Syracuse, New York.
The three Shubert sons had to forgo much in the way of formal education and go to work when they were very young. Introduced to the world of the theatre, the three brothers broke the monopoly on the theatre-management industry (represented by the Theatrical Syndicate under Abe Erlanger) and Mark Klaw in the foundation of rival agency the Shubert Organization.
Among the organization's Manhattan holdings are the renowned Winter Garden Theatre (at 1634 Broadway), the Sam S. Shubert (at 221 West 44th Street), and the Imperial Theatres. By 1924 they had 86 theatres in the United States. By 1953 they had produced 600 shows under their credits and had booked 1,000 shows into their numerous theatres. By the 1920s, they owned, operated, managed or booked over 1,000 theatres nationwide.
In 1942 they owned, leased or managed 20 of New York City's approximately 40 legitimate theatres and controlled some 15 in other cities.As of 2009, the Shubert Organization owns seventeen Broadway theatres in New York City, as well as the Shubert Theatre in Boston, the Forrest Theatre in Philadelphia, and manages the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
Some notable shows
- Chinese Honeymoon (1902)
- Winsome Winnie (1903)
- The Babes and the Baron (1905)
- The Dancing Duchess (1914)
- Pioneer Days (1906) featuring Indians, cavalry, baby elephants, and chorus girls. dir. Lee Shubert
- The Passing Show (1912-24), annual musical revue, rivaling Florenz Ziegfeld's Follies.
- The Blue Paradise (1915), and other Sigmund Romberg musicals
The Shubert children:
- Lee Shubert (1871-1953), theatre owner/operator, producer
- Fannie Shubert (1872-1928)
- Lisa Shubert (1875-1893)
- Sarah Shubert (1876-1934)
- Sam S. Shubert (1878-1905), producer, writer, director, theatre owner/operator; died at age 26, in Pennsylvania train accident
- Jacob J. Shubert (1879-1963), producer, director, theatre owner/operator
- Dora Shubert (1886-1951) born in Syracuse, New York
- Jerry Stagg (1968, 1969). The Brothers Shubert. Ballantine Books (mass market paperback), ISBN 978-0-345-21789-9
- Jonas Westover (2017). The Shuberts and Their Passing Shows: The Untold Tale of Ziegfeld's Rivals, Oxford University Press
- "Shubert Brothers" pbs.org, accessed August 29, 2009
- Kenrick, John.Who's Who in Musicals: Sa-Sm" musicals101.com, accessed August 29, 2009
- "The Shubert Organization" shubertorganization.com, accessed August 29, 2009
- Times Wire Services. "The Curtain Falls for J. J. Shubert", St. Petersburg Times, December 27, 1963