Sunday, April 28, 2013

Frohman Statue, Marlow

Walking, around Marlow, just before the famous bridge, one can find the Frohman Statue. Charles Frohman was one of the greatest theatre impresarios to have ever lived. He rose from humble beginnings in a backwater in Ohio to run a huge number of famous theatres in London, New York and Paris. He was a great friend and supporter of J M Barrie and he staged the first production of Peter Pan in December 1904 at the Duke of York Theatre when no other producer would back it. The play was an immediate success and was run by Frohman in his theatres round the world until his untimely death. It has continued to enthral millions of children over the succeeding decades right up to the present day.

Frohman visited England every summer from 1900 and he often visited Marlow which he regarded as the most beautiful spot in the entire world, particularly admiring the view from The Causeway over the bridge and the river to The Compleat Angler.Sadly, he lost his life in the sinking of the Lusitania by a German submarine in 1915. He chose to stay on the sinking ship and was reported by a survivor to say "Why fear death? It is the most beautiful adventure of life," echoing the famous line from Peter Pan, "To die would be an awfully big adventure".
The stone memorial featuring a nymph was erected in 1924 by his friends and admirers including J M Barrie and Pauline Chase and is the only tribute in the world to this remarkable impresario and showman. The translated Greek text on the plinth is a fragment by the poetess Sappho which relates to the great joy and pleasure that CF took from life and that he gave to audiences the world over. Included in the current work is the change of Frohman’s date of birth shown on the plinth to 1856.

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