impresario

Definition

Theater

  • A person who organizes and presents theatrical entertainments,especially musical productions. An impresario is often a manager ofa theater or production company and may be a financial backer or angel.

    Famous impresarios have included the 19th-century AmericanP. T. Barnum and, in the British theater, the brothers PrinceLittler (1901 - 73) and Emile Littler (1903 - 85), who stagednumerous pantomimes and US musicals after World War II. They eventuallyowned nearly half the West End theaters. Another formidable impresariowas their contemporary Binkie Beaumont who, as co-founder and managingdirector of H. M. Tennent Ltd, once had 14 productions running simultaneouslyin London. The best known impresario in the contemporary British theater isSir Cameron Mackintosh, who currently owns seven of the historicWest End theaters.

Origin & History of “impresario”

Impresario has no etymological connection with ‘impressing’ people (often though it is mistakenly spelled impressario). It was borrowed from Italian, where it was a derivative of impresa ‘undertaking’. this in turn came from the verb imprendere ‘undertake’, which goes back to a hypothetical vulgar Latin *imprendere (source of the archaic English emprise ‘enterprise’ (13th c.)), a compound based on Latin prendere ‘take’. Hence an impresario is literally someone who ‘undertakes’ something.
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