Monday, September 1, 2014
TAKE A TOUR INTO GRANDEUR
Take a walk back in history, and what an elegant heritage it is, when Waterbury's exquisite Palace Theater opens its doors for a tour on Friday, September 5 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Don't worry if you can't make tomorrow's foray as the Palace has promised to repeat this grand backstage event many times in the autumn season.
For nine decades, with only one sustained hiatus due to unforeseen events, the Palace has been a jewel in the entertainment world. This monthly historical talk, which is only $5, but make a reservation, will reveal stories and anecdotes from the theater's past and present glories. A trained staff of Palace Theater Ambassadors will be your guides, revealing all the delicious tidbits of knowledge that will make you feel you know this grand old lady, from her gilded and marble architectural design, her grand instrumental organs, her star dressing rooms and hidden backstage murals that illuminate the past in vivid color. Imagine walking across that great stage, the same space where over the years Tommy Dorsey, Tony Bennett, Eddie Cantor, Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason, Carol Burnett and Pink Floyd among many others trod the boards.
Built in 1922 and a solid part of the National Register of Historic Places, the Palace Theater was designed in a Renaissance Revival style by architect Thomas Lamb and manages to beautifully combine Greek, Roman, Arabic and Federal motifs. It was the brain child of theater impresario of Sylvester Z. Poli and was originally a vaudeville and silent movie house. It later welcomed talkies films, Big Bands, rock concerts and even later Broadway road shows. You will surely admire its sweeping marble staircases, golden domed ceilings, cut glass chandeliers and intricate plaster relief details that all attest to its grandeur and glory from the past to the present. It went dark in 1987 and stayed that way for a long 18 years. In 2004, it was revived thanks to a grant of $30,000,000 from the state of Connecticut and we are all the richer for it.
A double anniversary will be held on Saturday evening, September 20 at 8 p.m. to celebrate the 80th year of WATR Radio, 1320 AM, and the Palace's tenth since its revitalization. Billed as a "razzle dazzle musical revue," it will weave together headlines from the radio with theatrical headliners, appropriately called "Headlines and Headliners." Tom Chute from WATR will direct and Brian Pia will orchestrate this unique one-of-a-kind evening that is sure to be a crowd pleaseer. Call for tickets ($35).
For tour ickets ($5), call the Palace Theater, 100 East Main Street, Waterbury at 203-346-2000 or online at www.palacetheaterct.org. A special boxed lunch and tour package prepared by Riverhouse Catering for groups of 15 or more for $17 per person is available, reserved at least 3 days in advance.
Come learn all the secrets hidden and all the beauty revealed on the surface that the Palace Theater in Waterbury has for the taking.
Stroll into entertainment history.