Miss Patricola: Class and Taste

Isabella Patricola (always billed as Miss Patricola, c. 1886-1965) was considered the epitome of class and taste in vaudeville in her day. In retrospect, however, one can’t help compare her to someone like Liberace (from the point of her repertoire, not her wardrobe). Classically trained as a singer and violinist, among her crowd pleasing numbers was “Sweet Adeline” — clearly she didn’t mind being popular. Which is why she was able to crack the very highest stratosphere of the vaudeville firmament (top billing at the Palace) with the sort of an act which normally was considered filler. Comely to look at, elegantly dressed, vaudeville was as much about the packaging as about the material. In the teens and twenties, Miss Patricola was on top, and she played the Palace several times from 1923 through 1928. Her brother Tom was also in vaudeville (also revues and movie shorts) as an eccentric dancer and comedian. This source tell us Miss Patricola played vaud through 1935, then retired and opened a “Hygienic Phone Service”. She was living in Manhasset, Long island at then time of her death.

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.


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