This February, the world famous Apollo Theater will host a series of artistic and community programs throughout Black History Month. Since its inception in 1934, the Apollo has consistently been a model of innovation and excellence, and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the nation. As the nonprofit institution continues to expand its artistic, community and education initiatives, its core values of celebrating and providing a platform for African American talent and for other artists of diverse backgrounds and strengthening its integral role in the community remain central to its mission.
The Apollo’s 2017 Black History Month programming includes: the return of the Theater’s signature talent competition, Amateur Night, which begins its 83rd season with a host of new contestants; the Apollo will partner with cultural juggernaut AFROPUNK to present Unapologetically Black: The African American Songbook Remixed A Celebration of Black Protest Music; and Apollo Uptown Hall: Trial by Jury, a special edition of the Theater’s Uptown Hall series which takes on the most provocative, polarizing, and debated word in America “The N-Word.”
Full listings on each program below:
Late Nights at the Apollo
Presented on the Apollo’s newly renovated and intimate soundstage, Late Nights at the Apollo includes the Theater’s groundbreaking Apollo Music Café and its newest initiative – Apollo Comedy Club. The Apollo Music Café presents forward-thinking, innovative artists and features diverse performances across a myriad of genres: R&B, hip-hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock. Apollo Comedy Club, which precedes the Apollo Music Café weekend, has seen the iconic Theater returning to its comedic roots with an evening of comedy starring the best up-and-coming talent in comedy today.
Apollo Comedy Club: Hosted by B-Phlat, featuring Jonathan Martin, Marlon Randolph & Anton Shuford
Thursday, February 2, 2017 (Doors open for bar, food and music at 9pm and the show begins at 10pm)
The Apollo has returned to its comedic roots with Apollo Comedy Club, which launched in October 2015. Presented in partnership with the legendary Bob Sumner (Co-Executive Producer and Talent Producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club features an evening of comedy on the Apollo’s intimate Soundstage starring the best up-and-coming talent in comedy today. The Apollo Comedy Club 2017 season will run monthly on Thursdays from January until June 2017.
Apollo Music Café: Russell Taylor & Grace Weber
Friday, February 3, 2017; 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9 pm)
Featured on VH1 “”You Oughta Know” series, Russell Taylor is a highly sought after Harlem based soul-singer who has shared the stages with Mary J. Blige, Jill Scott, India.Arie, Isaac Hayes and Patti LaBelle. Named New Music Seminar’s #1 Unsigned Artist and listed on NPR’s “One To Watch,” Grace Weber returns to the Apollo after her triumphant 2004 Showtime performance.
Apollo Music Café: House Unplugged with Dawn Tallman & Friends
Saturday, February 4, 2017; 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9pm)
Curated by InJoy Enterprises
House Unplugged will feature International Dance Music Award winning artist Dawn Tallman performing with a live band along with special guests to create a unique high energy live music experience that audience members will feel deep in their soul.
Additional performers and dates for the Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club season (February 2017 – June 2017) will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club are $20 and $15 in advance for the Apollo’s A-List. There is a $10 drink/food minimum for each show. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are on sale now.
Apollo Open House
Saturday, February 4, 2017
2 p.m. – 6 p.m.
In celebration of Black History Month, the world famous Apollo Theater will host an afternoon of programming with our legendary Theater opening its doors to give members of the Harlem community, New York City residents and visitors alike a unique and FREE glimpse at the Apollo’s rich history and current programs. Hosted by Billy Mitchell, whose memories and knowledge are so great that he’s known as “Mr. Apollo!”
Open House will feature performances and presentations from youth activists and artists. Highlights include: Co-hosts Devon Arnold and Beverly Danquah from the Apollo Theater Academy, Tre Trax as our guest DJ, and Esther Aloba and Sergio Jimenez presenting relevant poetry and spoken word from the dynamic youth organization Urban Word NYC.
For centuries, historically black colleges and universities have provided fertile ground for students willing to devote their careers – and lives – to social justice. An excerpt from Stanley Nelson’s Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities will show how these institutions have continually served as incubators and facilitators for advocacy on behalf of the African American community.
Stemming from a manuscript by Harlem literary giant James Baldwin and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, we’ll show an excerpt from Raoul Peck’s I Am Not Your Negro, a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. Both filmmakers will be here to speak about their films and related subjects in a panel moderated by entrepreneur April R. Silver.
The Apollo’s Open House provides a platform for other cultural organizations and companies to share information including: Apollo Theater Academy, Firelight Media, Independent Lens, Magnolia Pictures, National Action Network’s Youth Huddle, THE POINT, Urban Word NYC and Word Up Bookstore.
The events are free and open to the public, as space allows. Join us for an afternoon that will inform and uplift.
The Apollo Theater’s Open House is from 2PM-6PM on February 4th. For more information visit www.ApolloTheater.org/calendar
For more information visit www.ApolloTheater.org/calendar.
Amateur Night: Opening Night
Wednesday, February 22, 2017; 7:30 pm
The Apollo Theater’s signature program opens with a host of new talent competing for the Super Top Dog title and a brand new grand prize of $20,000. Now in its 83rd year, Amateur Night continues to be a resource for discovering new talent and a defining experience for many emerging artists. The show has launched countless careers since 1934—from Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lauryn Hill to recent winners like Matthew Whitaker, Machine Gun Kelly, and Matthew Hashimoto.
Tickets for Amateur Night begin at $20 and are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street. Ticketmaster at 1-800- 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.
Amateur Night at the Apollo is sponsored by Coca-Cola.
The Apollo Theater Presents AFROPUNK Unapologetically Black: The African American Songbook Remixed A Celebration of Black Protest Music
Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 7:30pm
Creative and Musical Direction by Robert Glasper
Featuring special guests Bilal, Toshi Reagon, Tunde Adebimpe (TV ON THE RADIO) and Staceyann Chin and more
From Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, to Public Enemy’s Fight the Power, to James Brown’s Say it Loud, and Bob Marley’s iconic call-to-action, War, the Apollo stage has been an incubator and platform for music that sparks consciousness, celebrates empowerment, and births revolutions.
The Theater continues in this tradition by partnering with the international cultural movement, AFROPUNK, to present Unapologetically Black, an all-star big band performance experience under the creative and music direction of jazz pianist and composer Robert Glasper. The evening, featuring special guests from both the popular and alternative music scenes including soul music chanteuse Bilal, Toshi Reagon, Tunde Adebimpe (TV ON THE RADIO), Staceyann Chin and more will pay homage to black protest music and artists who have celebrated the power of being unapologetically black.
Described by the New York Times as “The most multicultural festival in the US,” AFROPUNK began as a web magazine dedicated to celebrating alternative culture and activism, reaching millions across its social networks. Aside from having festival stops in Brooklyn, NY, Atlanta, GA, and Paris, this event marks the first time AFROPUNK will be making a stop in Harlem, NY, bringing two world-renowned institutions of arts and culture together.
Apollo Uptown Hall: Trial By Jury
Sunday, February 26, 2017 (Doors open for bar, food and music at 9pm and the show begins at 10pm)
The Apollo continues to be a natural gathering place and “town hall” for local community residents as well as people from across New York City. This was demonstrated by the huge crowds that gathered under the Theater’s iconic marquee in response to world events such as the 2008 presidential election outcome and the passing of James Brown and Michael Jackson. Launched in September 2012, the Apollo Uptown Hall is a forum for presenting and discussing timely issues relevant to the community, the country, and the world, incorporating video, texting, and live performance to enhance and develop an interactive forum for community gathering and discussion.
The Apollo collaborates with creator Kyle Bowser to present Apollo Uptown Hall: Trial By Jury- Case of the N-Word, an interactive community conversation to investigate one of the most provocative, polarizing, and debated words in America. This dramatically staged program includes a fictional case and the audience serving as a jury to decide the outcome. Special guests will include: radio personality EMEZ, psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere, comedienne Stephanie McRae, CCNY Black Studies Director Dr. Cheryl Sterling, filmmaker Darryl Stith and writer, TV host and podcaster Touré will join the discussion to explore the word’s historic and current day resonance.
For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.