“Those damn actors have been sticking it into me for many years. Now I’m going to stick it into them—and harder.” - E.F. Albee, upon forming the Vaudeville Managers Association (a vaudeville theater monopoly), in 1900
The history of vaudeville theaters at the turn of the previous century is a study in the instability of free markets and their inevitable deterioration into oligopolies and monopolies. The VMA divided the nation into two spheres of influence and rigidly controlled who played where.
For more details I refer you to the book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book the Made Vaudeville Famous by D. Travis Stewart, writing under the nom de plume of “Trav S. D.” (say it out loud to get the joke).