Palace Theater

100 East Main Street,
Waterbury, CT 6702

Unfavorite 13 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 95 comments

Cinerama
Cinerama on February 26, 2016 at 8:45 am

The link below says that the theatre was once a Cinerama theatre in the 1950’s. I don’t know where he gets his info.

http://www.victoria-adventure.org/water_gardening_images/lou_palace_theater/page1.html

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on August 12, 2015 at 1:56 am

I was just at the Waterbury site and it says 2700 seats. The Bridgeport Palace is 3600 and history records show it was and still is the largest theatre built in CT. BTW… I am a concert & event producer and I have started talks with the City of Bridgeport to acquire the city’s Palace, Majestic (2200 seats) theatres and the 109 room Savoy Hotel; to restore and operate, bringing in name acts and shows. If anyone knows people in Bridgeport that are willing to help with fundraising events (concerts, etc. or grant-writing), please send them my way Don Kirk

Note: Yes both theatres and the hotel are in “BAD” shape and will take extensive work to get restored; although they can be opened before all restoration is done.

Patsy
Patsy on September 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm

Do wish though that this theatre still had its original marquee.

Patsy
Patsy on September 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm

Learned of this theatre when seeing that the Fireball Run (missing children) visited Waterbury CT today and toured the theatre. They posted a photo of the awesome lobby on their FB link.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 29, 2010 at 2:59 pm

Nice vintage photo Brad.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith on April 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Click here for a photograph of Poli’s Palace taken in 1929.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on March 17, 2010 at 9:43 pm

There’s a vintage postcard exhibit of Waterbury life at the nearby Mattatuck Museum until May 30. It’s only $5 for admission. I plan to go when I’m next in town, which is April 10, to see if there’s any old theatre pix.

anexwaterburian
anexwaterburian on February 28, 2010 at 1:10 pm

The Palace Theater marquee in October 2009.

anexwaterburian
anexwaterburian on February 28, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Poli’s Palace Theatre marquee sometime in the 1920s.

anexwaterburian
anexwaterburian on February 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

A 1950 Loew’s Poli ad in the Bridgeport Sunday Herald

chuckgu
chuckgu on February 10, 2010 at 1:20 pm

@Mike S:

Kiss most certainly did not set fire to the curtains. I was there on December 18, 1975. My friend’s dad drove us to the show in his Ford Galaxy 500, since us kids were only 15.

What did happen was that when people held up their lit cigarette lighters, the theater manager came out and told everyone that if they don’t put away the lighters, the band will not perform an encore. Eventually the band played their encore. It was a great show. :)

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on February 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Nice 1970 picture of the marquee.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on July 12, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Mentioned in a story about the Danbury Palace.

louis
louis on January 27, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Mr. Temporale has not been forgotten. A bronze plaque has been installed in the Grand Lobby in his honor. As you exit the lobby for the inner orchestra lobby, its located on the right hand wall. Its a large plaque, done in fine taste, as a tribute to a gentleman who had a dream for the Palace.

Louis

louis
louis on December 11, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Hello Luis, the three Poli theaters opened almost within months of each other. If my memory serves me, the Waterbury Poli had the biggest capacity, that of 3719 seats. The Boston and Bridgeport theaters were just a little less.

One of our stage hands was in the Bridgeport theater a few months ago and took many photos, which i have not seen yet. He claims that its a carbon copy of the Waterbury theater. Its in sad shape, it would take a big effort to restore it. In these time, I would venture to say, never.

Poli and his architect, Thomas Lamb had a cookie cutter design for his theaters. They are all similar in many ways. Our theater has a large Wagon Wheel chandelier in the balcony. Its not the original, since the original weighed 1800 pounds they could not safely put it back. Ours is a replica of the original and made out of fiberglass and weighs only about 130 pounds. Ours is one tier and the theater in Bridgeport has three tiers. I would love to see the inside of the theater.

Louis

LuisV
LuisV on December 11, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Wow Louis! Thanks so much for the history lesson. I love that kind of stuff. I would have to agre with you that I cannot imagine any other town in the country the size of Waterbury that would have supported this level of theater density. I still can’t get over that one of the theaters was over 3,000 seats.

I didn’t mean a slight to Waterbury when I said it was in the middle of “nowhere” but I simply meant that it was astounding to have that level of theater density and seating for a town that size. I did some separate research though and found that Waterbury was also a big town for Broadway productions before they came to New York as was New Haven.

Another power town of the past was Paterson, New Jersey, but that city has sunk to a depressing low. It’s big Theater, The Fabian, is in ruins as is Poli’s Majestic in Bridgeport, yet another faded industrial powerhouse city from the past.

Do you know if there is any hope at all for Bridgeport’s theater?

louis
louis on December 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Hi Luis,

In defense of Waterbury, at one time, it was the brass center of the world. Waterbury was the hub of commerce and industry in Connecticut and possibly all of New England. Such famous companies such as Scoville, Chase, Brass and Copper, Anaconda Brass, Mattatuck manufacturing, were among the numerous manufacturing companies that worked non stop during WW I and II

Sylvester Zefferino Poli loved Waterbury, so much so, that at one time, in the early 1920’s he had not only the Poli Palace theater on East Main Street, but four other vaudeville/movie houses all within a radius of one half mile. S.Z.Poli was born in Lucca, Italy in December of 1858. He opened his first theater in Waterbury in late 1897, when he was 39 years old.

There is no other City, Town, Hamlet, Burg, Village that can lay claim to have had 5 robust theaters all operating at the same time and all owned by the Impresario, S.Z. Poli.

On East Main Street, was the Poli Palace, about 1000 feet diagonally across the street was his original theater, called just plain “Poli”, across the street to the other side was the Strand Theater, down the street about 1500 feet was the Plaza, aka, Garden, aka, Rialto.
Across the street and up a side street was the famous Burlesque house, called Jacques.

At the time he was building his masterpiece in Waterbury, he was building two other sister theaters, one in Boston, since torn down and one in Bridgeport. The Bridgeport theater still stands, a shell of its former grand self.

Louis

LuisV
LuisV on December 11, 2008 at 1:23 pm

No offense to anyone, but I just looked up where Waterbury was in Connecticut and it’s practically in the middle of nowhere! It truly is incredible that a theater of this size was built in this town. I wonder if this theater holds the record for the largest theater ever built relative to the size of the surrounding area. I don’t know if anyone would know that kind of statistic.

Again, I don’t mean to insult anyone, but this is a big theater! :–)

Second, in response to Greg Wright’s earlier post from 2004 about “forgetting Broadway” now that the Palace has reopened, I just want to say that the enthusiasm for this theater is wonderful, but nothing will ever replace Broadway. On Broadway, you have a choice of what to see and a huge variety of spectacular theaters to see them in. You also see a Broadway caliber cast and not the “touring” companies which tend to be a lesser quality than the NY stage and of course, the bustle of the city and the incredible choice of dining options all add to the appeal. Yes, it is expensive. I do not deny it. But, it you can afford it, there is absolutely no substitution for the Broadway stage in New York!

I wish nothing but the best for the future of the Palace in Waterbury!

louis
louis on December 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

Yes we are showing a couple of films on Sunday the 14th of December. first is the classic “A Christmas Story” and the second will be “It's
A Wonderful Life”.

shows start at 1 PM. we have a wonderful digital projection system and the show will be wonderful. Do bring the family and enjoy the films the way they used to be presented.

Louis

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 11, 2008 at 12:44 am

Saw a commercial on the news today that the Palace will be showing some classic christmas cult films these weekends with one being a double feature.

ERD
ERD on October 6, 2008 at 11:15 am

What a beautiful job in restoring the Palace theater.It was well worth it.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on October 6, 2008 at 10:33 am

That “Rock Fans Jam Theater to Cheer Grateful Dead” article was part of a montage in the GD DVD “View from the Vault” Volume 2, special features section video of “Liberty”.

Snydel
Snydel on October 5, 2008 at 11:36 am

Sure thing, Louis. Feel free to use any all the stuff on our website.

Sincerely,
SNYDEL

View link

louis
louis on October 5, 2008 at 9:22 am

Hello Snydek, thanks for the wonderful link to the 0ld bands that played the palace. with your permission, i would like to use the list of bands on our palace web site, with credit to you, of course.

great collection.

thank you

louis