Oscar Hammerstein – 1847-1919
His memory overshadowed by the fame of his lyricist son, Hammerstein immigrated from Germany to the United States when he was a teenager and became a cigar maker. He also moonlighted as a theater manager and, in 1889, built his own theater, to which he brought the greatest actors and singers of the day. While he produced shows in all genres— including drama, comedy, vaudeville, and musical comedy—his greatest passion was grand opera, the production of which he revolutionized by introducing an unprecedented degree of genuine theatricality. By the end of his life he had built eleven theaters, ten of them in Manhattan.