Leavitt, M. B.

Leavitt, M. B.
   Michael Bennett Leavitt was born in Posen, Prussia, brought to America before his second birthday, and made his debut with the Mrs. W. B. English Company in Bangor, Maine, performing alongside Mrs. English's two daughters, Helen and Lucille Western. By age 14, he was performing in minstrel shows, playing banjo, bones, tambourine, and piano as well as acting in the burlesque sketch and serving as advance man. As impresario of Madame Rentz's Female Minstrels (later the Rentz-Santley troupe), he popularized burlesque performed by women. He moved easily into management of legitimate theatre and formed a chain of theatres that became the prototype later imitated by the Theatrical Syndicate. During his career, he worked with virtually every person in American show business, much of which is recounted in his magisterial memoir, Fifty Years in Theatrical Management (1912).

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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