For over a century, the Apollo Theatre has been the soul of American culture and the heart of American music genres, from jazz to soul to pop to rap. Attend a concert at this historic theatre, both a cultural icon and a historic city landmark.
Reflect on the Apollo’s history, as interesting as its modern performances. The Apollo opened in 1914 as Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theatre, which like most theatres of the time, prohibited black performers or guests. Reopening as the 125th Street Apollo Theatre in 1934, the auditorium began marketing to African-American audiences and initiated a popular Amateur Night. Early winners included Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey.
Over the years, the theatre welcomed many emerging and established artists, with Sarah Vaughn and Ruth Brown in the ‘40s, Dionne Warwick and James Brown in the ‘50s, Gladys Knight and Jimi Hendrix in the ‘60s, Aretha Franklin and B.B. King in the ‘70s, Diana Ross in the ‘80s and Prince in the ‘90s. Showtime at the Apollo presented rising talents to television audiences. Attend an Amateur Night performance today to help initiate the career of the next rising star in the music world. Audience members select winners for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places as well as a child star of tomorrow.
The theatre hosts not only amateur singers, but also professional performers. Laugh over drinks at the Apollo Comedy Club. Dance groups such as Ballet Hispanico make regular stops. The Classical Theatre of Harlem has presented a holiday favourite The First Noel. Lectures, panel discussions and even election debates come to this famous stage.
Find the current schedule of events on the theatre’s website. If you have talent, audition for a spot to compete on the stage. Amateur Night is every Wednesday and the Comedy Club occurs monthly. Purchase tickets online to be sure to get a seat. Stop at the gift shop for souvenir clothing and other items.
The subway and Metro North Railroad have stops within several blocks of the theatre. Come to Harlem to see a performance at the Apollo Theatre, truly a night to remember.