The Poli Palace and Majestic in Bridgeport, were the largest theaters in Connecticut when they opened in September of 1922. Designed in Beaux Arts style by Thomas W. Lamb, and only 50 miles from New York's Broadway shows, the two theaters were home to countless Vaudeville acts.
How important was Bridgeport in Vaudeville's history? We don't know yet...Until we have an online digital archive preserving and documenting acts and performers, we know little of its history.
How important was Vaudeville in American History?
"Despite our contemporary amnesia, the fact remains that for approximately fifty years — the period spanning 1881 to 1932 — Vaudeville was the heart of American show business. Its stars were America's first stars in the modern sense. People all over the country knew their names, read about them in magazines...One could make the argument that the story of American show business is the story of Vaudeville... and yet that story is quite forgotten" (Traw S.D., No Applause Just throw Money). Perhaps not entirely forgotton when this archive is complete.
This digital archive of Vaudeville acts displays the actual playbill images as they appeared in the Bridgeport Telegram newspaper. Both the image as well as the text of the performers and acts are shown. The objective is not only to preserve local theater history, but to also raise awareness and facilitate active dialog among scholars, researchers and educators.
For more information, contact us at bportnow at gmail dot com
This project was made possible by a grant from the 2013 Bridgeport Mayor's Neighborhood Arts & Heritage Grant Program