About the Apollo

banner img

About Us

The legendary Apollo—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of  innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

CAPONE performs at Amateur Night opening night at The Apollo Theater,  New York, USA – 19 Feb 2020

Our Mission

The Apollo is a commissioner and presenter; catalyst for new artists, audiences, and creative workforce; and partner in the projection of the African American narrative and its role in the development of American and global culture.

 

Our Vision

The Apollo envisions a new American canon centered on contributions to the performing arts by artists of the African diaspora, in America and beyond.

© Apollo Theater Archives

Our Leadership

Meet our Leadership

The Apollo’s leadership team and Board of Directors consists of extraordinarily talented individuals committed to furthering the legacy and vision of the legendary Apollo for the next generation of artists to come.

Jonelle Procope and Kamilah Forbes posing next to each other at an Apollo fundraiser

Our History

Learn More

The Apollo has played a major role in the emergence of jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, and soul — all quintessentially American music genres. Today, the Apollo remains a beacon for the arts in America and is now a non-profit multidisciplinary performing arts commissioner and presenter.

1913

Theater opened

The historic neo-classical theater, known today as the Apollo Theater, was designed by George Keister.

A black and white photo of the Apollo Marquee

1934

Sidney Cohen sells the 125th Street Apollo Theater

Sidney Cohen sells the 125th Street Apollo Theater to Leo Brecher and Frank Schiffman. The format of shows changes from burlesque to variety reviews. Marketing attention is redirected to the growing African-American community in Harlem. The Theater is renamed 125th Street Apollo Theater. Amateur Night at the Apollo is launched. 17-year-old Ella Fitzgerald and 16-year-old Pearl Bailey make their Apollo debuts.

Ralph Cooper hosting Amateur Night

1955

“Showtime at the Apollo” first broadcast taped

The “Showtime at the Apollo” first broadcast, taped before a live studio audience. Performers include Sarah Vaughan, “Big” Joe Turner, Herb Jeffries, the Count Basie Orchestra, comedian Nipsey Russell, and the dancer Bill Bailey. Willie Bryant is the host.

The stage set up of the Showtime at the Apollo television show

1979

Apollo Theater is purchased

Percy Sutton’s Inner City Broadcasting Corporation and investors purchase the Apollo Theater.

© Apollo Theater Archives

1983

The Apollo received landmark status

The Apollo receives national, state, and city landmark status as Harlem’s oldest active theater. The Apollo celebrates its 50th Anniversary with the television special, “Motown Salutes the Apollo.”

New Apollo Theater marquee

1987

"Showtime at the Apollo" Debuts

“Showtime at the Apollo” debuts on national television.

The stage set up of the Showtime at the Apollo television show

1991

The Apollo becomes a not-for-profit

The Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., a not-for-profit organization, is established to manage and program the Apollo Theater.

Apollo_Theater_Interior_Renovation

2005

Black Music Month launched

The first Apollo Black Music Month, a month-long celebration of black music, launches with performances by The Black Eyed Peas, The Neville Brothers, and soul icon Chaka Khan.

Music and Comedy imag

2010

Apollo Walk of Fame Unveiled

The Apollo Legends Walk of Fame is unveiled below the Apollo’s historic marquee. Plaques paying tribute to renowned entertainers are installed for Quincy Jones, Patti LaBelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Stevie Wonder Walk of Fame Photoo Credit Shahar Azran Courtesy of the Apollo Theater

2011

President Obama visits the Apollo

President Barack Obama becomes the first sitting President to visit the Apollo.

President Barack Obama standing at a podium with the American flag behind him

2018

Between the World and Me Premieres

Adapted and directed by Apollo Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ #1 New York Times bestseller “Between The World And Me” has its world premiere on the Apollo stage, with original music by Jason Moran and featuring performances by Angela Bassett, Common, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Susan Kelechi Watson, Joe Morton, Pauletta Washington, and Michelle Wilson. The show then tours to the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

The cast of Between the World and Me theatrical production holding hands on stage

2020

Digital Stage Launched

The Apollo launches the Apollo Digital Stage to continue to connect with artists and audiences during a prolonged closure due to COVID-19. The digital stage features a broad range of programs from the Apollo archives as well as curated performances, conversations and more, the Digital Stage has garnered nearly a half a million views for content in the first 11 months.

Apollo_Marquee_3 Courtesy of Sanden Wolff Productions EDIT
Close video modal

Press

Check out this season’s press releases, recent Apollo news and information on how to contact our press department. 

Apollo Theater

Contact Us

Questions or concerns? Please fill out the form and you will be connected with the appropriate department. We’d love to hear from you!

Contact Us

Jobs at the Apollo

Join our team at the world-famous Apollo! Check out the Careers Page to learn more about job opportunities and how to apply!