- Reinhardt, Max
- (1873–1943)Born Max Goldmann in the Austrian resort town of Baden, just south of Vienna, Reinhardt was a true man of the theater. An actor, director, theater manager, and author, he was also the husband of Helene Thimig (1889–1974), a member of one of the German stage’s theatrical dynasties. Reinhardt made his theatrical debut in the Austrian capital in 1890, but then moved on to Berlin, where he established both his career and much of his reputation. The director of one of that city’s most significant houses, the Deutsches Theater, Reinhardt was also active in smaller settings, founding the Berlin Kammerspiele (Chamber Players) in 1906, as well as in cabaret productions.Reinhardt was a cofounder and director of the Salzburg Festival; from 1920 to 1938, when he left Austria, he directed the annual performances of Jedermann. In 1924, he became director of the Vienna Theater in the Josefstadt, and in 1929 he founded the Reinhardt Seminar, a school for theatrical performers that is still part of the Austrian University for Music and Theater.Both practically and theoretically, Reinhardt was an influential force in the development of modern theater and film. His actors were trained to speak and move naturally. Reinhardt believed that audiences should be made part of the production, to lower the barriers between themselves and performers. He was attracted to the Salzburg Festival because he thought that the environment of the city and the surrounding landscape would strengthen the impact of the material he was staging.Mass scenes became standard features of Reinhardt’s offerings, and he was especially successful at directing mob sequences. He was also a technical innovator, making use of the revolving stage and dramatic lighting effects. All of this served him well in his numerous films, the most successful of which was A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935). In 1938, Reinhardt immigrated to New York, where he tried to continue his career, though with indifferent results. He died in the United States.See also Hofmannsthal, Hugo von.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.