Today is the birthday of Anna Fitziu (Anna Powell, 1887-1967). Originally from West Virginia, she started out in New York City as a chorus girl and singer in 1902 using the stage name Anna Fitzhugh, in honor of some of her posh colonial relations. For the next four years, she appeared in musical comedies, operettas and in vaudeville. From 1906 through 1915 she spent her time in Europe and South America, first studying voice in Paris and changing the spelling of her name to “Fitziu”. In 1915 she returned to America and played all the great American opera houses through her retirement in 1927, becoming known for her roles in Pagliacci, La Boheme, Tosca, Madama Butterfly and others. In 1927, shortly before her retirement she returned to vaudeville briefly with a performance at the Palace. The balance of her career was spent as a vocal instructor.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.