Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater opened its signature show January 27 with a special performance by hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh. Amateur Nights continue through October 2010 every Wednesday at 7:30p at the Apollo, 253 West 125th Street (Martin Luther King, Blvd.) in Harlem. Tickets for Amateur Night is $17 and available at the theater’s box office and Ticketmaster.
The first Amateur Night took place in 1934 in the world’s most famous pan-African community, Harlem. The Apollo plans to hold auditions in Washington later this year. Look for the audition announcement in Snippets.
Exhibit Comes to Washington, Detroit, New York
From April 23 - August 29, 2010, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington presents the first exhibition to examine the rich history and cultural significance of The Apollo. With original artifacts, music, and video, “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing: How the Apollo Theater Shaped American Entertainment” tells the story of the Apollo from its origins as a segregated burlesque hall to its starring role at the epicenter of African American entertainment and American popular culture. Exhibits will include:
- James Brown’s hyperkinetic performances and the live recordings that went on to become best-selling classics
- Bill “Bojangles” Robinson’s spell-binding footwork in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera
- Ella Fitzgerald’s Amateur Night debut at the age of 17
- The Jackson Five’s breakthrough performance, featuring a 9-year-old Michael Jackson
- The Supremes in a dazzling Motown Revue.
Following its premiere in the nation’s capital, the exhibition moves to Detroit's Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History from October 1, 2010 - January 2, 2011, at the Museum of the City of New York from January 30 - May 1, 2011, and in four additional U.S. cities to be announced.
The Companion Book
Published by Smithsonian Books, the richly illustrated book will explore the social and historical significance of the Apollo and the cultural impact of the artists who performed there. Zita Allen, a former critic for Dance Magazine, focuses on the legacy of the Apollo chorus line dancers. Greg Tate, at work on a biography of James Brown, investigates the unique success of the God Father of Soul. Mel Watkins, author of On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedy, writes about pioneering comedians at the Apollo. Ethnomusicologist Christopher Washburne, founding director of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Performance Program at Columbia University, writes about Latin music at the Apollo.