057a.jpg (40745 bytes) New York Architecture Images-Harlem and the Heights

Apollo Theater



In the heart of New York City, on 125th Street, there is a place that needs no introduction.

Yesterday…A place where thousands of young artists have stepped out into the spotlight and launched their careers. A place "where stars are born and legends are made." The legendary Apollo Theater is so much more than an historic landmark - it is a source of pride and a symbol of the brilliance of American artistic achievement. From 1934 when the Apollo first introduced its world-famous Amateur Night which launched the careers of legendary artists like Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Michael Jackson, D'Angelo and Lauryn Hill, the Apollo has maintained its position as the nation's most popular arena for emerging and established black and Latino performers.

In 1983, the Apollo obtained federal, state and city landmark status. Amateur Night was revived, and in 1985, the Apollo Theater celebrated its 50th Anniversary with a grand reopening gala and nationally broadcast television special Motown Salutes the Apollo. Two years later,ShowTime at the Apollo the television show based on the original Apollo Amateur Night, began airing in syndication and now runs weekly on NBC affiliates in 119 markets nationwide.

The State of New York acquired the theater in 1991. With support from state and local governments and the private sector, a not-for-profit organization- the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. - was established to ensure the theater's ongoing success. The Foundation brought stability to the theater's operations and focused its efforts on reinvigorating the Apollo legend. Drawing 1.3 million visitors annually, Harlem is Manhattan's third most popular tourist destination, and the Apollo remains Harlem's top attraction.

Today…During the 2000-2001 period, the Apollo Theater Foundation developed a vision to restore the Apollo's position as a leading performing arts venue and to firmly establish the Apollo as a community-centered institution. The Apollo has made a dramatic resurgence over the last year and a half with the addition of a new executive management team; a rejuvenated Board of Directors, including several top entertainment, business and civic leaders like AOL/Time Warner CEO, Richard Parsons; music guru, Quincy Jones and Atlantic music mogul, Val Azzoli. In addition, several other high profile changes have occured, such as the opening of a major new Broadway style musical, Harlem Song, directed by Tony Award winner, George C. Wolfe; the regular headlining of major shows, and benefits with artists such as Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Vanessa Williams, Salma Hayek, Wynton Marsalis, Rosie Perez, The Strokes and David Byrne among others.

The commencement of an ambitious historical renovation of the 88-year old theater has already resulted in a significant upgrading of the theatrical production values with the installation of state-of-the-art lighting and audio systems. Finally, there is the return of a new and improved season of Apollo Amateur Night featuring greater diversity in talent and celebrity guest artists.

Other signs of the Apollo's comeback are the strengthening of its community outreach programs such as the Free Films for Kids program, and concerts featuring the best of the Harlem artistic and cultural society were staged free of charge for the community. Over $10,000 was raised and donated by the Apollo to the Harlem community Red Cross outreach program. Latin Nites at the Apollo, a showcase for the global influence, multiple genres and artistry of Latin musical styles debuted at the Apollo on 2001 and just commenced it's 2002 season at the theater. Dance Theatre of Harlem's 2001 and 2002 inaugural seasons, Whoopi Goldberg's one-woman show, and the Jazz Foundation of America's benefit, "A Great Night in Harlem", with Bill Cosby have all played at the Apollo Theater signifying the rise of a new cultural renaissance in Harlem.

Tomorrow…More exciting events are ahead such as:
  • The development and launch of the Grammy's Sound Check program and the Apollo/Coca-Cola Academy
  • The conclusion of the final phases of the Apollo Restoration project
  • The development and launch of Apollo Records
  • Development of an Apollo clothing line
  • Development of new Apollo merchandise

No other institution has had a greater impact on the entertainment industry and world culture as a whole. Entertainers from Elvis Presley, Tom Jones, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to the modern rock bands of Korn and The Strokes, have all been inspired by the legends who have emerged from the Apollo Theater. Furthermore, all of them have welcomed the chance to be part of the Apollo's legendary audience or to perform on its hallowed stage. Long associated with innovation and creativity, the Apollo now has the unique opportunity to set a new standard of excellence: Come share in a new era of our legendary history



With special thanks to