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Lehman Brothers, a Family Saga, as Viewed by Some Who Lived It

Category: Business,Finance

“Bobbie’s talk was very much 2008 as it was 1929,” Mr. Russo said.

The “Trilogy” will head to London’s West End after it finishes its four-week run on Saturday. This production, directed by Sam Mendes, was adapted from the original, which was written in Italian by Stefano Massini and ran five hours.

Partly reflecting the high-altitude ticket prices ($425 for premium seats), New York audiences have included outsize numbers of financiers, as well as Lehman progeny who went to see the replay of a catastrophic downfall.

Wendy Lehman Lash, great-granddaughter of Mayer Lehman, the youngest of the three brothers, served as a conduit for tickets. “I would say over 100 Lehman offspring have seen it,” she said.

Ms. Lash’s paternal grandfather, Herbert Lehman, spent most of his career in politics, and served as New York’s governor and as a senator. Despite her Lehman roots, “I didn’t know this story, how they reinvented themselves,” Ms. Lash said of the founding patriarchs after seeing the play. “How Lehman had to go from cotton to banking.”

John L. Loeb Jr., an 88-year-old family scion who researched the family history for a self-published memoir, has seen the show three times. “It’s wonderful theater, but it’s largely the imagination of the author,” Mr. Loeb said. “It doesn’t quite tell the truth.”

Ever since 2008, Mr. Loeb has chafed against the public’s equating the Lehman family itself with the financial crisis. Bobbie Lehman, who died in 1969, was the last family member to lead the firm. And as Mr. Loeb pointed out, American Express bought the company in 1984. A decade later, it spun off Lehman Brothers’ financial service operations through a public stock offering, and Mr. Fuld became chairman and chief executive.

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