This February, the world famous Apollo Theater will host a series of artistic and community programs in celebration of Black History Month. Throughout its history, 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. The Apollo’s 2016 Black History Month programming includes the annualApollo Open House Weekend, free and open to the public, will explore the relationship between the arts and activism with appearances by former Black Panther Party member Kathleen Cleaver, Stanley Nelson, Billy Mitchell and more; a night of comedy beginning with an Apollo Live Wire discussion on the history of comedy at the legendary Theater followed by Apollo Comedy Club featuring Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green and John Laster and a weekend of Apollo Music Café performances by powerhouse vocalist Mykal Kilgore and The Seshen.
Apollo Live Wire: Comedy at the Apollo
Thursday, February 4, 2016; 6:30 p.m.
Butterbeans & Susie, Moms Mabley, Flip Wilson, Timmie Rogers, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Chris Rock – the list of comedians who have performed at the Apollo is long and impressive. The story of comedy at the Apollo offers insights into the history of Black humor, politics, and entertainment. Mel Watkins (journalist and author of On The Real Side), comedian Leighann Lord and Bob Sumner (producer of Def Comedy Jam and Apollo Comedy Club curator) take us on a journey to discover some of the comedians who played the Apollo and forever changed American comedic style.
Apollo Comedy Club
Featuring Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green & John Laster
Thursday, February 4, 2016 (doors open for music, bar and food at 9 p.m.)
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 (producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club will feature an evening of comedy on the Apollo’s intimate Soundstage starring the best up and coming talent in comedy today including Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green and John Laster. The comedy shows will precede the Theater’s weekend music series, Apollo Music Café, extending the Theater’s late night offerings.
Apollo Open House Weekend
February 6 – 7, 2016
In celebration of Black History Month, the Apollo Theater will open its doors for a FREE weekend of activities. This year’s Open House weekend will explore the arts and its role in activism, as well as the Apollo’s relationship with the artist activists.
Say it Loud: Arts and Activism at the Apollo
Saturday, February 6, 2016; 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
A day of film and music presentations devoted to spotlighting legendary Apollo artists such as James Brown, Nina Simone, Bob Marley and more who championed the concept of black pride and other social justice issues. With performances by rising stars of today including musicians Chris Rob, Lynette Williams, Mysonne, Mavis SWAN Poole and Steff Reed, poet NeNe Ali andAmateur Night winner King Solomon Hicks. Co-hosted by radio personalities Imhotep Gary Byrd (WLIB and WBLS’s Express Yourself) and Bob Slade (WBLS’s Open Line) with Apollo Tour Director and In-House Historian Billy Mitchell.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution
Sunday, February 7, 2016; 2 p.m.
The Apollo Theater, in partnership with Independent Lens THIRTEEN & PBS, present a free screening of Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, the first feature-length documentary exploring the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture and to the cultural and political awakening of black people.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with director Stanley Nelson, former members of the Black Panther Party Kathleen Cleaver, Ericka Huggins and David Lemieux, journalist Jamilah Lemieux (Ebony Magazine) and activist Dante Barry.Moderated by THIRTEEN’s MetroFocus Producer and Host Rafael Pi Roman. The event will also include inspirational music by the IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company.
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution premieres on PBS’s Independent Lens Tuesday, February 16, 2016; 9 p.m. -11 pm EST (check local listings) and is available on DVD and Blu-ray from PBS Distribution at www.ShopPBS.org or 800-PLAY-PBS.
Apollo Music Café: Mykal Kilgore
Friday, February 5, 2016; 10 p.m. (doors open for music, bar and food at 9 p.m.)
Curated by Dwight Jordan
Mykal Kilgore returns to the Apollo Soundstage after a stunning performance in the recent holiday musical The First Noel. A once-in-a-generation talent known for his powerhouse vocals and impeccable acting chops, Kilgore has graced the Broadway stage in multiple productions (Hair, Motown the Musical, The Book of Mormon and Marley) as well as in NBC’s critically acclaimed television broadcast of The Wiz Live. For one night only, take a musical journey with Kilgore through the halls of gospel, jazz, soul and contemporary musical theatre.
Apollo Music Café: The Seshen
Saturday, February 6, 2016; 10 p.m. (doors open for bar and food at 9 p.m.)
Curated by Dwight Jordan
The Seshen is a San Francisco Bay Area-based band that draws influences from an eclectic range of artists including Little Dragon, J. Dilla, Erykah Badu, Lion Babe, SZA and Hiatus Kaiyote. Their music fuses hip-hop, soul, pop and electronica, producing an original sound.
The Apollo Theater, 253 West 125th Street, New York, NY
TICKETS: Apollo Live Wire: Comedy at the Apollo is free and open to the public.
Tickets for Apollo Comedy Club are $20. There is a $10 drink/food minimum for each show. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305 and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.
Apollo Open House Weekend is free and open to the public.
Tickets for Apollo Music Café: Mykal Kilgore are $20. There is a $10 drink/food minimum for each show. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5303 and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.
Tickets for Apollo Music Café: The Seshen are $20. There is a $10 drink/food minimum for each show. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305 and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com.