Holyoke's Parsons Hall, where Tanguay made her humble debut at amateur nights as a young girl, wearing several knit chair-throws and the fabric of an old umbrella as her dress:30
Eva Tanguay was born in 1878 in Marbleton, Quebec. Her father was a doctor. Before she reached the age of six, her family moved from Quebec's Eastern Townships to Holyoke, Massachusetts. Her father died soon after. While still a child she developed an interest in the performing arts, making her first appearance on stage at the age of eight, circa 1888, at an amateur night in Holyoke. Two years later, she was touring professionally with a production of a stage adaptation of the popular Frances Hodgson Burnett novel Little Lord Fauntleroy. Tanguay eventually landed a spot in the Broadway musical My Lady in 1901. The 1904 show The Chaperons led to her rise in popularity. By 1905, she was also performing in vaudeville as a solo act, where she would spend much of the remainder of her career.