The theatre business was flourishing under Victoria’s reign and the London-born Harrison Cantrell felt compelled to carry the culture west, way west. No, not as a stage performer, although he has a flair for drama, but as a theatre owner in the very heart of San Francisco. Combining his business acumen, charismatic personality and proceeds from an investment settlement, the amusing upstart started the Bay Palace Theatre, a world-class establishment that has quickly found favor among local patrons of the arts.
Showcasing a variety of society dramas, farces, and romantic melodramas and even vaudevilles, the theater is packed nearly every night of the week. No doubt, Cantrell has the Midas touch, or at least an uncanny connection to his audiences’ tastes; most of the shows premiering on his stage go on to international acclaim. The hottest ticket in town is an invitation to opening night at the Bay Palace Theatre. Cantrell and Co. throw decadent parties which draw the likes of the governors, society elite, captains of industry and a bevy of beauties eager to toast his brilliance. He has thus far eluded the grasp of all the marriage minded mamas and miss-es. Given his wealth, stature and excellent manners his single life can’t be expected to last much longer.
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