Beck, Martin


Beck, Martin
(1865-1940)
   The flamboyant producer emigrated from his native Austria and got his first job as a waiter in a Chicago beer garden, where he talked the proprietor into letting him stage a show. "Two Beers" Beck then formed an association with Morris Meyerfield in San Francisco and helped to build the chain of theatres that became the Orpheum Circuit; Beck was president from 1920 to 1923. Meanwhile, he built the Palace Theatre (1913) on Broadway and so managed it that it became the mecca of vaudeville. After making his fortune in vaudeville, Beck turned to the legitimate theatre.
   He built the Martin Beck Theatre at 302 West 49th Street in New York; it opened on 11 November 1924 with Madame Pompadour. Beck was a shrewd and ruthless businessman as well as the subject of endless anecdotes for his often-eccentric behavior.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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