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Angels in the American Theater

Angels in the American Theater

Patrons, Patronage, and Philanthropy

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Edited by Robert A. Schanke


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
6 x 9, 15 illustrations

Theater in the Americas


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About the Book

Angels in the American Theater: Patrons, Patronage, and Philanthropy examines the significant roles that theater patrons have played in shaping and developing theater in the United States. Because box office income rarely covers the cost of production, other sources are vital. Angels—financial investors and backers—have a tremendous impact on what happens on stage, often determining with the power and influence of their money what is conceived, produced, and performed. But in spite of their influence, very little has been written about these philanthropists.
Composed of sixteen essays and fifteen illustrations, Angels in the American Theater explores not only how donors became angels but also their backgrounds, motivations, policies, limitations, support, and successes and failures. Subjects range from millionaires Otto Kahn and the Lewisohn sisters to foundation giants Ford, Rockefeller, Disney, and Clear Channel. The first book to focus on theater philanthropy, Angels in the American Theater employs both a historical and a chronological format and focuses on individual patrons, foundations, and corporations.


Robert A. Schanke, a professor emeritus of theatre at Central College, Iowa, has contributed to numerous journals, reference books and anthologies. He is the author of “That Furious Lesbian”: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta, winner of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award, Ibsen in America: A Century of Change, Eva Le Gallienne: A Bio-Bibliography, and Shattered Applause: The Lives of Eva Le Gallienne.


“The story of the American theater, especially since 1900, can be told in large measure through its private patronage and support—financial and personal. This superb book captures the intrigue, egos, unselfishness, and even cliff-hanging moments of the past century’s dependence on theater ‘angels’ in their many manifestations.”—Don B. Wilmeth, coeditor of the three-volume Cambridge History of American Theatre

Angels in the American Theater should be required reading for administrators and students alike. The essays are informative and readable, and the introduction by editor Robert A. Schanke is especially useful as an overview of theatre funding over the last century.”—Gil Lazier, Dean of Theatre Emeritus, Florida State University.?