Charles Frohman

Legit Icons of the Century

Frohman gave Broadway its first look at “Peter Pan,” an American premiere that might have pre-dated the birth of Variety by only five weeks, in 1905, but flew high on Broadway during an epic run for its time. Frohman, who was essayed by Dustin Hoffman in the film “Finding Neverland,” had also produced the James M. Barrie fantasy in London the year before.

At the height of his power, Frohman had produced some 700 shows, controlled five theaters in London, six in New York and 200 in the rest of the U.S.

Before he died in the sinking of Lusitania in 1915 — it was wartime and friends begged him not to sail — Frohman was responsible for the American debuts of several works by Oscar Wilde, Georges Feydeau and Somerset Maugham, leading to the accusation that he favored London transfers over homegrown American plays.

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