S. Z. Poli, the Italian Immigrant Who Horrified the Yankees

Mar 17, 2020 161

Twenty-one-year-old S. Z. Poli came to America in 1881 with little more than the ability to carve lifelike figures from wax. He parlayed that skill into a theatrical empire and prestige in his adopted home of New Haven.

Players like Houdini, Sophie Tucker and George M. Cohan performed for working-class immigrants in his magnificent theaters throughout the Northeast. New England’s Yankee elite never quite accepted the Italian immigrant who put on vaudeville shows. He probably didn’t care.

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SOURCE: https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com

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