Welcome to the Palace – #SoCS

It’s a frigid Saturday here in New England, not as cold as other places, but cold enough. Cheryl has saved us a place at the bar where we can warm up, catch up and drink up as we wrestle with Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt. This week, Linda is offering bonus points,

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘above/below.’ Use one, use both, use ’em however they inspire you. Bonus points if you use them both. Enjoy!”

If we were having a beer, you’d want to know about a recent outing of mine.

“Reserved? I didn’t know you could reserve seats at the bar, Dan.”

“You can’t, David. They use those signs to mark the places we can’t sit.”

“Yes, and sometimes, we use them because we know our favorite yahoos are overdue.”

“Awww, thank you Cheryl.”

“You guys want your usual?”

“I think I can speak for David, yes, yes we do.”

“I’ll be right back.”

“Dan, did you get another haircut?”

“I did, David. I get one every four or five weeks. Are you jealous?”

“No, well, not of the haircut, I like to let mine grow long. But your haircuts usually involve breakfast at Allegro. Was that included?”

“As a matter of fact, yes.”

“Do you think it’s safe to eat there?”

“In general, or because of the pandemic?”

“Because of the pandemic. I’m no stranger to small urban grills, they always have the best food.”

“They have removed two stools between the stools you can sit at, and they installed Plexiglass between all the booths. Seems safe enough to me.”

“Speaking of Plexiglass, let me tip this Corona under the shield for you, Dan. David, your glass of John Howell’s Bourbon, your seltzer and your ice all slide under easily. It sounds like you won’t be ordering food.”

“Thanks Cheryl. That breakfast was over a week ago. We might want some wings later.”

“OK, just give me a growl.”

“Speaking of safe places to go – or not – did you go on that tour at the Palace Theater?”

“I did, but it wasn’t the theater you said it was.”

“Huh?”

“You said it was the old movie theater in Windsor.”

“Well, I saw the ad in the local Windsor paper, so I assumed…where was it?”

“Waterbury.”

“Waterbury? That’s an hour away. I can’t believe you still went.”

“Well, the old theater in Windsor is a movie theater that might hold three or four hundred people. The Palace Theater holds almost twenty-six hundred people. The stage is over five-thousand square feet – it’s the largest stage in Connecticut.”

“Yikes! Where did they take you on the tour?”

“We started in the lobby. Then we went everywhere else. We sat in the orchestra level for a highly informative lecture. Then we went behind stage. Then below the stage. Then we went above the whole shootin’-match up into the Mezzanine and boxes.”

“How many people were on this tour, Dan. that sounds like it might have been cramped.”

“They broke us into two groups. I was in a group with two guides and eight people. We were spread out the entire time – the place is huge, David, huge!”

“I’m sure you heard all about the history. How long has it been in operation?”

“It was built by Sylvester Z. Poli in 1922. The architect was Thomas Lamb.”

“I’ve heard of Poli theaters, Dan. Is this the same guy?”

“Yes, David. At one point Sylvester Poli was the largest theater chain operator in the country.”

“I saw a documentary on one in Bridgeport, was that his? That place was opulent.”

“It was. He also had one in New Haven, Hartford and Meriden.”

“No offense to those cities, but they’re not exactly the places you’d expect Broadway class theaters.”

“That was the point. Poli wanted to give something back to the working people in those cities. He literally wanted the one in Waterbury to seem like a palace.”

“Does it?”

“It does. The theater was built in the Second Renaissance Revival style, but it includes elements of Greek, Roman, Arabic and Federal styling.”

“Has it been in continuous operation since the twenties, Dan?”

“No, David. It opened as a place for movies and vaudeville acts. Then it changed with the times to Big Band and even rock bands. It had to close in nineteen-eighty-seven but reopened in two-thousand-four.”

“More important, Dan, does it have a bar?”

“It has several bars, Cheryl. One behind the orchestra seating. One on the mezzanine level, and one in the Poli Club. If you rent the lobby, they can probably set one up in there for you.”

“The Poli Club, sounds fancy-schmancy.”

“Actually, just a bit more intimate, Cheryl. In non-pandemic times, they have jazz bands playing in there.”

“Did you get pictures of doors, Dan?”

“Of course, I did, David. I’ll share them next week.”

“Were those bars open, Dan?”

“No, Cheryl. The theater is closed until the fall. They said to watch for when Broadway opens. The Palace will open thirty to sixty days later once the road companies are in operation.”

“So then, you guys will need another round here, today.”

“Absolutely!”

66 comments

  1. What an amazing structure! The detail is extraordinary, Dan. And the snow, will the cold ever leave? We’re in the teens, without the white blanket. Hope you and yours can stay warm through this forever winter. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • I almost didn’t go, Judy. They said they booked up to 20 per tour. I went on a Thursday, because I thought it would have fewer people than on Saturday. There were 17 people and I was uncomfortable, until they said they would break us into two groups. With 8 people and two guides, I can honestly say I’ve been way closer to people in the grocery store than in that theater.

      Maddie had been disappointed that we couldn’t walk that day. By the time it was warm enough, there are too many people out. I figured we’d sit for a few minutes. She slept there for about half an hour. I was cold. I’m not sure why she wasn’t.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks GP. I have pictures of so many acts that have played there. They missed Elvis by a few days, He died just before he was to perform there. One guide said most people opted to keep their tickets instead of getting a refund.

      Like

  2. I love to see the incredible attention to detail on something as simple as a staircase or a drinking fountain. What a wonderful time it must have been. I however am pleased to not have lived through it. I like my modern conveniences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is fun to visit though, and it’s wonderful to see a modern show in such a venue. The acoustics are amazing. While in the mezzanine, would could hear the other tour guide on the stage quite clearly.

      Like

  3. That Palace looks a lot like the Louisville Palace, but that was built in 1928 by John Eberson. We’re due some winter weather early this coming week. Mimi has a lot of nerve, sticking those toe beans out where you can grab them in passing. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    • She was stretching. I had been outside for over two hours clearing snow, she was just waking up. I gave those toes a rub. We have winter weather all week. I hope we both get off easy. I was amazed at all the spaces in these theaters that we don’t normally see.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a gorgeous theater! We have a few older theaters in the area, but none as large or opulent. A tour and a non-haircut breakfast would have been totally worth my time. Glad you were able to enjoy, Dan.

    Stay warm and have a wonderful weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Both “outings” were worth it, Mary. I was worried about the theater tour, until they decided to split us into two groups. The place is so large, we were never near each other, and the acoustics are so good, that it didn’t matter. It was the perfect pandemic place ;-)

      Stay safe and stay warm if you can.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. An era gone by. We had two theaters in White Plains, NY…..Lowe’s and RKO Keith’s. Very ornamental, but not nearly so as what you show here. So many details. Sometimes looking at all the glitz and glitter was more entertaining than the film being shown. 🤗

    I’m sure your wood stove is working overtime. Maddie looks quite content outside, and MiMi looks quite annoyed! Hope you are all able to stay warm in this frigid weather. Spring is just around the corner.

    BTW, you don’t think that any of us believe you’re sorry for showing us that scrumptious looking breakfast, do you? 🤗
    Ginger

    Liked by 1 person

    • In the 30s, Poli sold this theater to Lowes. It flourished until 1987, when it had to close. After an extensive renovation, it reopened in 2004. That story is coming on Thursday – no breakfast (I am sorry, but mainly because I had that breakfast two weeks ago. I just finished a Quaker Oats Oatmeal Raisin Bar – I kept looking for the bacon.

      Maddie must have felt warm on her cot in the sun, she slept there for half an hour. As for MiMi, that girl just doesn’t like being woken up with a head scritch.

      Take care, Ginger. Stay warm (if you can).

      Like

  6. That’s a wonderful theater. I enjoyed the tour. The Ghost light is pretty cool and so are the autographs. I would have loved to see bands and plays performed there.

    The sun where Maddie had her snooze looks so warm and she looks comfy. The snow is pretty, but that was a lot of snow to move.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dan, it’s always good to hang out with you and David and Cheryl — and whomever else shows up, at the bar. That’s a hearty, tasty looking plate of breakfast. Don’t apologize, just enjoy!

    Applesauce! What a gorgeous place. 1920s architecture is magnificent. Thanks so much for sharing all the photos. And for prompting fun memories of late 70s music. During that time I lived just outside Nashville. While I never actually met him, Charlie Daniels would drive past (on his way home) in his truck, wearing that big old hat, and he always waved.
    You’ve touched a couple of things that I would comment to, but that’s too much. Fun post, Dan. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That is a beautiful theatre, Dan. The word ‘opulent’–what a great word!–most definitely applies. Hard to believe how cold it was because Maddie looks like she’s livin’ the dream! Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Opulent is the word, Lois. I can’t imagine Maddie was all that warm, but she slept there for about half an hour. I was NOT warm. I was also not in strong sunlight, and I was on a web lawn chair, not an insulated cot.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. It’s nice to see the huge theater is maintained well.  It’s very cold here -9 but snow is small.  When the wind picks up it will be blown away.  The ice will remain.

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I enjoyed these old photos of the the theatre. That spiral staircase looks like an adventure! We have an old downtown theatre here called Thalian Hall. I’ve gone to several plays other events there over the years. Once during the day, I went in to look at what seats I wanted to get tickets for and I saw a cat-sized rodent run along the front near the orchestra pit. I got seats further back. Maybe that was the time I got seats in the balcony.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Love, love, love!!! Makes me misty thinking about the reopening of Broadway. Glad such a place as this exists in Waterbury CT. Very much like our Majestic theater here in SAT. Which by the way has announced the season will reopen in September of 2021. A stellar line up too My Fair Lady, Lion King, Beautiful (Carole King tribute) and more! I’m eyeing season tickets for the “old lady” Saturday 2 pm matinees. Now that’s the stuff :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the buildings that were built to impress, not just for practical purposes. Maddie and the cats have their own agendas. Maddie loves to sit outside. Whenever she sees that cot, she’s in her glory. We haven’t gone out to dinner. I’ve had breakfast and lots of takeout – trying to keep the restaurants going.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Those eggs are in there, I found them :)

      Over time, they have had every kind of performing act on stage in that theater – from Burns and Allen to Aida to Springsteen. The production “signatures” on the walls of the lower level are amazing.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. So, Poli wanted to bring theater to the working class, with all the opulence. Good man! This was fascinating, Dan. Loved the history and the photos. The cast painting their names is really cool. I’ll be looking forward to your doors post next week.

    Liked by 2 people

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