Tag Archives: Apollo Theater

Amateur Night at Apollo: Nothin’ But Soul with special guest star Deborah Cox

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Singer Deborah Cox sings during Amateur Night at the Apollo.

On Wednesday, June 15th, in celebration of Black Music Month, the world famous Apollo Theater presented an especially “soulful” edition of its signature show with Amateur Night: Nothin’ But Soul. During this themed Amateur Night contestants payed homage to Soul and R&B legends who have graced the Apollo stage by giving performances that are based on the root of soul music. As a treat, GRAMMY-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Deborah Cox performed during this soulful night for the fans.

Deborah Cox is an award-winning singer/songwriter, Broadway star and philanthropist best known for her 1998 breakout smash hit “Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here,” which set a record as the longest-running No. 1 R&B single in the United States, reigning the charts for 14 consecutive weeks. Deborah continued as a fixture on the top of the charts, with six Billboard Top 20 R&B singles in addition to an impressive 12 Billboard #1 U.S. Dance hits. Since then, the Grammy-nominated Canadian superstar has been pushing past boundaries, from her versatility as a vocalist to her activism work supporting charities for women in need and LGBTQ rights to starring in Broadway musicals Aida and Jekyll & Hyde. Her repertoire expands with her latest roles as two of her childhood heroes: the legendary Josephine Baker in the riveting Broadway-bound production Josephine and the Rachel Marron role in the upcoming live theatrical adaptation of The Bodyguard.

“Every year, during Black Music Month, we celebrate Amateur Night’s musical roots with our contestants all performing classic soul and R&B songs as a way of rekindling and preserving the rich musical history of soul music and its pioneers. We’re talking classics like James Brown, Chaka Khan, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and more,” said Amateur Night producer Marion J. Caffey. “And we are excited to welcome our special guest artist, Deborah Cox back to the Apollo stage. She’s a multi-talented artist and an incredible performer. It’s sure to be a soulful night!”
Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Comedian Capone hosts Amateur Night at the Apollo.

Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, launching the careers of thousands of performers and attracting audiences from all over the world. The Apollo Theater’s Amateur Night has long been revered by artists as a transformative experience where up-and-coming talent feels the power of the legendary performers who have come before them, and where audience response can help make or break a career.

The show was hosted by comedian Capone. In addition, Amateur Night also featured staples like CP Lacey in the role of the “Executioner” (the character who sweeps “booed” contestants off the stage), Joe Gray the “Set It Off Man,” and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell.

While Amateur Night draws a large crowd each week, there are some night the Apollo grants guests an extra special night which is really mostly what the world famous Apollo Theater has always been know to do.

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The 2016 Spring Gala at The Apollo Theater

On Monday, June 13, 2016 at 7pm, The Apollo Theater held it’s annual Spring Gala. This year, the gala featured a star-studded line up for its 11th Annual Spring Gala—its biggest fundraising event of the year. The concert portion of the evening featured performances by legendary R&B group, The O’Jays, and rising star Leon Bridges and Andra Day and was hosted by LL COOL J.

8dba700a2f48429504d4daaf5ab302f2The Apollo Theater is a launching pad for up-and-coming artists through programs like Amateur Night, Apollo Music Café, and the new Apollo Comedy Club and, at this year’s Spring Gala; we’re excited not only to showcase the legends that have paved the way, but to also give a platform to the voices and talent of today. In addition to artistic programming and initiatives, our annual Spring Gala helps to support our educational programs that help nurture the creative spirit of music and culture in Harlem and across the world,” stated Jonelle Procope, president & CEO of The Apollo Theater.

Each year at the Spring Gala, the Apollo also recognizes a corporation for its outstanding philanthropy and community leadership. This year’s recipient of the Corporate Award is Viacom. Philippe Dauman, executive chairman, president and CEO of Viacom, will accept on behalf of the organization. The Award portion of the evening will be hosted by Jonelle Procope with the Corporate Award being presented by Charles Phillips.

Mr. Dauman said, “It is a great honor to accept the corporate award for community leadership from an institution as legendary as the Apollo Theater. Our organizations share a deep commitment to advancing creative voices in American culture and honoring African-American artists, and Viacom applauds their outstanding work.”

Apollo Theater CEO Jonelle Procope and Entertainment exec Richard Parsons.

Apollo Theater CEO Jonelle Procope and Entertainment exec Richard Parsons.

The Theater also announced that it will induct the one and only Prince into its Walk of Fame in honor of his incomparable contributions to music over the course of 40 years.

Prince joins previous Apollo Walk of Fame inductees—all legendary musicians, artists, and entertainers whose paths to fame included the Apollo, including: Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard and Ella Fitzgerald. Inductees are honored with a plaque on the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater’s iconic marquee on 125th Street.

Procope states, “The Apollo family was of course, devastated to hear about the loss of Prince. He is, hands down, one of the greatest artists of all time – an absolute genius – and his relationship with the Apollo dates back to 1993. Over the years, we’ve been honored to host him, whether for a seminal New York performance or as a guest in our audience, so we are beyond thrilled to kick off this year’s Spring Gala by inducting him into the Apollo Walk of Fame.”

The Apollo Spring Gala began with a special ceremony to induct legendary recording artist Prince into the Apollo Walk of Fame which was held that afternoon, and continued with red carpet arrivals followed by an award ceremony and a concert with Musical Director Ray Chew (Dancing with the Stars) at the helm. The evening also included special tributes to the trailblazing artists that have been lost in 2016. The night culminated with a much buzzed about after party held in a stylish tent created by celebrity event planner and Apollo board member Bronson van Wyck. This year’s after party featured a special Let’s Go Crazy Dance Tribute with DJ D-Nice spinning a dedicated set to the sounds of Prince’s diverse and extensive catalogue.

The 2016 Spring Gala event was a massive success with each year being as great as the next. For more information on the Apollo Theater, visit their website. You can also keep up with events via social media through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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Apollo Walk of Fame induction of Jazz icon Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker

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The official induction of Charlie “Bird” Parker into the Apollo Walk of Fame.

In anticipation of the New York premiere of Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD (April 1st and 3rd), a co-production between the Apollo Theater and Opera Philadelphia, the Theater celebrates its jazz legacy by inducting the iconic and influential jazz saxophonist, Charlie “Yardbird” Parker, into the Apollo Walk of Fame.

The ceremony included presentations recognizing Charlie Parker and photo ops with Apollo President & CEO, Jonelle Procope; legendary instrumentalist, composer, arranger and educator Jimmy Heath, who played with Charlie Parker; Opera Philadelphia President and General Director, David B. Devan, opera star Lawrence Brownlee, who plays Charlie Parker, and quite a few other guests.

The Apollo’s Walk of Fame honors legendary performers who have helped shape the American music landscape and built the Apollo into one of the world’s most enduring cultural institutions. The plaques are normally installed underneath the Apollo’s marquee on 125th street, alongside plaques for numerous Apollo legends including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson, and Patti Labelle, among others.

e5f93e729ad1bb12b22e2be7d85de4f7Parker had a rich history with the Apollo and performed at the Theater many times, beginning in 1943 with the Earl Hines Orchestra— which included Dizzy Gillespie. During his many engagements at the Apollo, Parker further developed his bebop style and also experimented with classical and other musical forms. Even after his death in 1955, he left a rich influence in the world of jazz and in music overall.

This Charlie Parker induction event, is only one of the many that the Apollo Theater holds throughout the year . As many may know, the Apollo Theater is a not-for-profit organization and currently in the midst of fundraising for its 21st Century Apollo Campaign., created to extend the institution’s role in fostering artistic innovation and in building appreciation of American culture around the world. For more information, visit the Apollo website.

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Director Lee Daniels set to direct Apollo Theater documentary film

aff8e8d7f528ad963d6b15a8b1833a64The history of the Apollo Theater, located in Harlem New York is known all around the country and even in the world. Now, there will be more of an opportunity for people to learn about this legendary theater that has launched the careers of many great entertainers.

Oscar nominated director Lee Daniels, who is know for films such as (Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Precious, Monster’s Ball, Shadowboxer, and creator and producer of the Fox hit series Empire) will direct the documentary feature film entitled THE APOLLO THEATER FILM PROJECT – the authorized history of New York’s famed Apollo Theater. The project was recently announced by The Apollo Theater and White Horse Pictures’ Nigel Sinclair and Jeanne Elfant Festa.

In the spirit of the Apollo Theater’s tradition of active audience participation and in support of this documentary, Lee Daniels and Jonelle Procope, President and CEO the Apollo Theater, are jointly making an appeal to members of the public, audience-goers, and fans for film footage, home movies, photographs or other memorabilia that may have been accumulated by members of the community in the course of its more than 80 years of live performances. Just like with the well-known Apollo Theater amateur night, the audience has the opportunity to actively participate.

gradient 12688017_10153931785299485_1549845637527461926_nAccording to Daniels and Procope, “We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material – audience footage, photographs, or other memories that we can use in our documentary film. In addition, an Apollo Theater Documentary website has been established. for anyone who wants to submit. We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property.”

This exciting project is produced by Nigel Sinclair who has been responsible for projects such as:(GEORGE HARRISON: LIVING IN THE MATERIAL WORLD, END OF WATCH) and Jeanne Elfant Festa (FOO FIGHTERS: BACK AND FORTH), White Horse Pictures’ Director of Features and Head of Documentaries,under her Piper Cub Productions banner. For additional information, and other events, visit the Apollo theater website.

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