Poli's Theater

145 East Main Street,
Waterbury, CT 06702

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Poli's Theater

Poli’s Theater opened on Dec. 19, 1897 next to the Broadway Casino, which later became the site of the State Theater. Poli’s saw such luminaries as the Drews, the Barrymores, Sarah Bernhardt and George M. Cohan traipse across its stage during its heyday. It closed in the 1930s.

The old Poli’s is not to be confused with the Loew’s Poli, the site of the newly renovated Palace Theater.

Contributed by an ex Waterburian

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

anexwaterburian on September 4, 2006 at 10:48 am

Poli’s Theater may also have been known as Fon’s Theatre, which is the sign on the side of the Poli’s building in the postcard photo at View link

There is also a small photo of a postcard showing Poli’s and the Broadway Casino at

Poli’s Theater closed in 1928, but the building is still standing next to the Waterbury UConn campus (photo at View link )

anexwaterburian on September 16, 2006 at 8:33 am

Shirley Grey http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0336956/bio was born in Naugatuck CT and moved to Waterbury in 1917. She graduated from Wilby High School in 1919 and began her acting career with Sylvester Poli’s stock theater company, The Poli Players', shortly thereafter. While with the Poli Players, she performed in weekly stock performances throughout Poli’s chain of theaters, and performed with the Poli Players until 1924. Grey performed in more than 45 films during her brief movie career from 1930 to 1935 http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0336956/

rpoli on August 30, 2007 at 8:58 am

“Poli’s Theater may also have been known as Fon’s Theatre, which is the sign on the side of the Poli’s building in the postcard photo…” I don’t believe this is accurate. The postcard in the first link here has been touched up by someone who is not familiar with the photo image from which the postcard was made. This touched up postcard also repaired the “STORAGE” sign. Interestingly enough, the image in the second link, , is an accurate reproduction of this postcard. Note: the fancy “L” in the Poli name and the broken “STORAGE” sign. Please compare the two images to confirm.

shoeshoe14 on September 26, 2007 at 11:03 pm

The info I have says it opened on December 15, but what the hey, 4 days. 1,200 seats. At the time, it was the largest stage in the country. Pictures are on page 56 of Images of America: Waterbury.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on September 27, 2007 at 8:10 pm

The building that still stands is the lobby building. The theatre portion is long gone.

TLSLOEWS on February 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Another POLI,s down the tubes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 25, 2013 at 7:36 pm

This paragraph about Poli’s Theatre appeared in the biographical sketch of its manager, Walter Griffith, in a history of Waterbury published in 1918:

“It was opened December 15, 1897, at No. 141 East Main street and has a seating capacity of sixteen hundred. The stage is one of the largest in Connecticut and the house was one of the first to put in the best pictures. The theater was opened as the home of legitimate drama but during the past six years vaudeville and stock companies have occupied the boards in the summer. The Poli circuit numbers twenty-four theaters, with three offices in New York, and Mr. Alonzo is the exclusive booking agent of New York.”

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