May 1, 1883, The New-York Times, page 5, Under New Management; The Union-Square Theatre in Mr. Shook's Hands; Mr. A.M. Palmer Sells His Interest and Will Seek Rest and Recreation, Preparatory to a New Venture,
To-day Mr. Sheridan Shook becomes the sole proprietor and manager of the Union-Square Theatre. Mr. A. M. Palmer, who has occupied that position for several years retired last evening. For 12 years he has been identified with the management of the house, first as manager, than as part proprietor with Mr. Shook, and subsequently as sole proprietor and manager. Mr. Palmer last evening, met Mr. Shook, and the contracts necessary were signed and Mr. Palmer received the amount agreed upon as the purchase price for the good-will, properties, and all the appurtenances of the theatre. By the terms of the contract Mr. Shook assumes all of the proprietary interest in the plays now controlled by Mr. Palmer. Mr. Shook also assumes all contracts existing with the members of the Union-Square company, and will assume the management of the tour across the continent, which the company will make before its reappearance at the old house, Mr. Shook's plans for the future conduct of the theatre are not yet made, but the policy, in a general way, will be the same as had been pursued heretofore, and which has made fame and fortune for the house. Although no contract has yet been made, and no details yet agreed upon, Mr. James W. Collier will be associated with Mr. Shook in the management of the house, either as a partner or as manager. As Mr. Shook's company does not return to the City until early Winter, no plans have been made as to what play will be produced by it on its reappearance, but it is probable that a new play, "Storm Beaten," will be the opening attraction.
Mr. Palmer stated last evealag that he retired from management for the present because of ill-health, his doctor insisting that he shall retire from active work for a time to secure the rest he absolutely needs. He will go to his country residence at Stamford for a short time, and then will make a tour to Europe. He will be absent at least six months, and probably a year, spending a large portion of the time in Switzerland. He says he will not retire from theatrical management permanently. "The New-York public has always treated me in the most courteous manner possible, and I hope to return soon and resume my position here as a theatrical caterer. With what house? That is impossible to state, but I have plans in mind that I shall perfect while abroad, and which I think will satisfy our New-York theatregoers as well as I have reason to feel my plans have satisfied them in the past. I leave the theatre with feelings of both joy and sorrow---Joy at the prospect of rest I need, sorrow at severing my connection with a house I have learned to love. I leave behind me a record of which I feel I have reason to be proud. Not a season has passed but I have brought out some great theatrical success. No actor has ever been fined, paid a forfeit, or had a dollar deducted from his or her salary, and no one has ever been discharged from the theatre under my management. The theatre owes no person one cent, and has as clear and good a record as that of any theatre in the country." Mr. Palmer also stated that there was no truth whatever on the rumor that had been circulated to the effect that his retirement was due to a quarrel with Mr. Shook. "Mr. Shook and I have always been good friends, and I trust will always continue to be, and we have never had a quarrel of any kind," he said.
Ex-Judge Dittenhoefer, who drew up the papers and is counsel for Mr. Shook, said last evening that the building of the Union-Square Theatre belonged to the Courtlandt Palmer estate, and Mr. Shook holds a lease of the premises which has yet seven or eight years to run and was a renewal of another lease that had expired. Mr. Shook had sublet the theatre to Mr. A. M. Palmer, and two years ago he renewed the sublease for five years longer. Mr. Palmer was to pay a fixed rental, and. in addition, 25 per cent of the profits of all the business done in the name of the theatre or anywhere with the company of the Union-Square Theatre. This, of course, gave Mr. Shook certain right in the management of the theatre.. Three years of the lease still remained unexpired. Within the past six months differences arose between Mr. Shook and Mr. Palmer as to the management of the theatre. These differences, however, were not of an unfriendly nature. The two gentlemen not being able to agree upon the policy to be pursued, it became a question as to who should assume the full and complete management of the house. Offers and counter offers were made by each, and within the past 10 days it was agreed that, as Mr. Palmer wanted rest and recreation, he should sell out his interest in the establishment to Mr. Shook. The time since then has been spent in agreeing upon the price and arranging minor details. Last night the sale was consummated by the signing of written agreements by which in consideration of the payment of a sum of money, the exact amount of which both parties desired not to disclose, Mr. Palmer sold his interest in the lease, in all the plays acted by the Union-Square Theatre Company, including the "Lights o London." "The Banker's Daughter." "A Parisian Romance,"The Daniekeffs," and 15 or 20 others, and in all the contracts for the playing of the Union-Square Theatre Company throughout the country, and also for the sub-letting of the theatre until the regular season. Mr. Palmer had sub-let it from May to December to several persons, including Wyndham, Joseph Jefferson, Marie Prescott, and Helen Barry, and on the rentals Mr. Shook is to get a profit. Mr. Shook will take possession to-day. While no formal agreement has been made with Mr. James W. Collier, who was reported to have been one of the purchasers, there is an understanding that he will be associated with Mr. Shook.