About the Theater
Founded in 1914, the Apollo Theater was originally named the Hurtig and Seamon’s New Burlesque Theater. In 1934, the first Amateur Night at the Apollo was launched, and some of the industry’s top performers started off their careers at these events. Singers like Ella Fitzgerald, Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday all began at the Apollo, while later the theater ‘discovered’ Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and James Brown.
After being bought over in 1981, efforts were made to return the Apollo Theater to its former glory and two years later, the theater received national, state and city landmark status. The establishment was relaunched on its 50th anniversary in 1985 and is now run by a not-for-profit organization, which airs a weekly television program based on the original Amateur Night, and runs an active programming schedule.
Events at the Apollo Theater
Thanks to an active and rejuvenated organizing committee, there is always action going on at the Apollo Theater. Each Wednesday at 7:30, the Apollo Amateur Night takes place like clockwork. There are six scheduled events running each week that include performing arts, special events, community programs and concerts. Every June during Black Music Month, the Apollo pays tribute to the African-American culture and music that made this theater so popular by running a wide range of events, including the annual Spring Benefit.
The Apollo Theater is very much a hands-on location that is constantly celebrating its roots through a number of activities. Situated in Harlem, New York City’s third most popular tourist destination, which draws 1.3 million visitors each year, the Apollo Theater reaches out to the community on a regular basis by hosting health fairs, community arts initiatives and providing talent platforms for amateurs from young children to seniors. In addition, visitors can also enjoy daily Apollo Historical Tours that run for an hour each time, and tell the fascinating history of this iconic theater.
The Apollo Store, situated on 125th Street, Harlem allows visitors to take home a little piece of this establishment’s history in the form of clothing, key rings and stationary. Plans are being made to launch an online Apollo Store.