Will Demolish Old House and Replace with Beautiful Structure.
“The Hyperion Theater at New Haven, one of the twenty-five theaters owned by S. Z. Poli, is to be rebuilt. The theater will close on Saturday, April 26, and on the following Monday the work of demolishing the interior of the structure will begin. It is intended to let the four outside walls remain, but the interior will be entirely rebuilt as a modern theater. It is to be opened in August.
The Hyperion was built in 1880 by Peter Carll, who afterwards lived in the front part. It was opened on September 21, 1880 with Maggie Mitchell in ‘Fanchon, the Cricket.’ Lillian Russell from Tony Pastor’s Theater in New York, followed in ‘Polly of Ours.’ Booth and Barrett appeared there in ‘Julius Caesar’ and Mary Anderson afterwards played there, and for several years the American Opera Company and other opera companies played in the theater. Dramatic stock followed and Manager Carll held the theater for about eight years, when it was taken over by Dr. John Winchell sold out to G. B. Bunnell and James Peck, then the manager of the old Grand Opera House on Crown street, New Haven. Bunnell and Peck sold out to the Shubert interests. They sold the theater in 1912 to Poli, who has controlled it ever since.
The old Hyperion has always been in demand for political conventions, Yale Proms, grand balls and all sorts of entertainments where a large interior and ease of access were desirable. Mr. Poli has not yet announced his plans for the reconstructed theater but has recently said:
‘Nothing but the walls of the old Hyperion will stand. They are of the finest material, are still in perfect condition and are absolutely fire-proof. The approach will be changed all around. The stores in front will be removed, thereby extending the orchestra seating capacity about 200 seats.’
‘Many new exits will be put in so that in an emergency they can be automatically opened up like a tent. It will be possible to empty the house in a few minutes. While superb investiture is our aim, we regard safety as of equal importance. Our plans will make the Hyperion the most beautiful and modern theater, at least, in New England, and possibly in America.'”
-Excerpt courtesy of the Library of Congress, Chronicling America, The Hartford Daily Currant, Sunday, April 13, 1924. (top) Image courtesy of the Connecticut State Library, Books and Journals, “The Connecticut society blue book,” Dau Publishing Co., 1903