Board of Directors
President & CEO
Jonelle Procope is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Apollo Theater, a position she has held since 2003. She became a member of the Apollo Board of Trustees in 1999. She leads a staff of over 60 full-time union and non-union employees, and an executive team responsible for all financial, production and strategic functions of the legendary Theater. The Apollo’s 27-member Board of Trustees includes prominent corporate and community leaders dedicated to the continued expansion of the Theater’s influence within the United States and internationally. She has been responsible for the Board’s development and expansion as well as the adherence to best practices for governance consistent with the Apollo’s transformation into a vibrant non- profit institution.
Ms. Procope has implemented a long-range plan for the preservation, restoration, and expansion of the Theater. Under her leadership, the Apollo has dramatically increased its base of financial support, while expanding its education and community programs. In 2018, the Apollo completed a comprehensive strategic plan process, which led to a five to 10 year implementation plan to transform the institution into a 21st century performing arts center.
Prior to assuming her role as President and CEO of the Apollo, Ms. Procope held a variety of senior positions within the fields of entertainment law and media-related corporate affairs and management. She began her legal career as an associate attorney at the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.
Ms. Procope has been profiled in The New York Times Public Lives column, which recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant contributions to New York City, named as one of Portfolio magazine’s “73 Biggest Brains in Business”, profiled in Ebony Magazine, and honored by The New York Daily News as one of the “100 Women Who Shape Our City”. In April 2014, Ms. Procope was honored by the New York Women in Communications as recipient of its 2014 Matrix award. In addition to the Apollo Theater Board, Ms. Procope is a member of the boards of the 125th Street Business Improvement District, the Gracie Mansion Conservancy, NYC & Company, SiriusXM and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. She also serves on the NYC Landmarks50 Advisory Committee.
Ms. Procope was an Executive Producer on the feature length documentary film, The Apollo, which opened the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019 and received the 2019 Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary. She also serves on Mayor Bill De Blasio’s Arts, Culture, and Tourism Advisory Council to help safely reopen city post-pandemic.
Kamilah Forbes is the Executive Producer of the Apollo in addition to her work as an esteemed award-winning director and producer for theater and television. Ms. Forbes is a powerful leader, widely known for her ability and commitment to continue to highlight the ideas, complexities, and work of artists in the hip-hop community and beyond. She has received awards for both directing and producing, including the 2019 NBTF Larry Leon Hamlin Producer Award and an NAACP Image Award.
Ms. Forbes’ directing credits include Between the World and Me; By the Way, Meet ;Vera Stark; Blood Quilt and Sunset Baby. This Howard University alum has also collaborated on The Wiz Live, A Raisin in the Sun, Mountaintop, and Stick Fly on Broadway. She has produced several works for television, most notably the seventh season of the Tony Award and Peabody Award-winning series Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry on HBO.
Ms. Forbes’ most recent directorial work, Between the World and Me, aired as a special event on HBO and HBO Max in November 2020 to critical acclaim. Outside of her work at the Apollo, Ms. Forbes is slated to direct the Broadway premiere of Soul Train, alongside Questlove, Dominique Morrisseau, and Camille A. Brown.
Chief Operating Officer
Mr. Scrofani is a 40 year veteran of the live entertainment business. He began his tenure in the theatre at Jujamcyn Theatres Corporation where he served a 13 year term as the Executive Vice President. In 1990, he joined Columbia Artists Theatricals (CAT). During his 18 years at CAT, Mr. Scrofani served as the Chief Operating Officer. He also held the position of Executive Vice president and COO of Columbia Artists Management, Inc. (CAT’s parent company) and was a senior member of the Board of Directors. In 2009, he founded Theatre Management Associates, Inc. (TMA) and its subsidiary, Moonglow Productions LLC. Mr. Scrofani has produced, co-produced or been associated with over 100 Broadway, National, and/or international productions including Chita Rivera The Dancer’s Life, STOMP, TBring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk, Jelly’s Last Jam, Elaine Stritch At Liberty, Sunset Boulevard, Into the Woods, The Piano Lesson,, Dracula, and more.
He has garnered multiple Tony® Nominations and Tony® Awards as well as Drama Desk, Obie, The Pioneer in the Theatre Award in 2011, and The Elliot Norton Award for outstanding production for Carousel. Mr. Scrofani serves as an Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Stern School Of Business as well as the instructor of the program “Strategic Steps For Growth” sponsored by the Mayor’s Office Of Media & Entertainment in partnership with New York University.
Chief Development Officer
Donna Lieberman is responsible for raising more than $10 million annually to support the Apollo’s artistic, education, and community programs. She also directs the organization’s special campaigns, which have raised tens of millions of dollars for large scale artistic programs, facility enhancements, and cash reserve. As Director of Strategic Gifts at New York for Feeding America, Ms. Lieberman worked with City Harvest and the Food Bank for New York City to raise over $1 million in gifts for the collaborative Campaign for a Hunger-Free America, a multi-year, $500M effort to change the history of hunger in America. Ms. Lieberman has held senior level positions at The New York Botanical Garden, the Museum of the City of New York, and the School of American Ballet, among others. She was Director of the Campaign for New York City Ballet, raising more than $58 million for the Ballet’s first endowment campaign. Ms. Lieberman also served as the founding Managing Director for MAKOR, a center for Jewish life and culture on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and as Managing Director of the WPA Theatre.
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer
Fatima Jones is a cultural strategist, marketing, public relations and reputation management leader. She currently serves as the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the Apollo where she leads all integrated marketing, including advertising, social media, press, audience development and design.
Fatima is the former Director of Communications for the Brooklyn Museum (BKM) where she led the media relations and social media campaigns for all of its exhibitions, including the critically acclaimed David Bowie Is and the transformative We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women. Prior to BKM, she spent almost a decade at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Her consultancy experience includes work with Ronald K. Brown/Evidence Dance Company, Weeksville Heritage Center and 651 ARTS.
She is a former voting member of the Bessies Dance and Performance Awards and has served on many granting panels, including NYSCA and Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. Fatima has been profiled in Essence, PRSA, PRNet and Sisters Communications for her work in the field.
Chief of Staff
As the President’s Chief of Staff, Ms. Jing He provides strategic support to the President by optimizing her ability to effectively and successfully lead the organization, achieving goals in all her primary areas of responsibility – strategic plan development and implementation, capital campaign, institutional messaging, and strategic interactions with the Board of Directors. On behalf of the President, she is the primary liaison and ensures effective communications with key internal and external stakeholders. As the President’s trusted counsel and sounding board, Ms. He plans and manages special initiatives assigned by the President and projects deemed critically necessary, including charting and facilitating comprehensive strategic planning processes, leadership transition planning, and propelling an ongoing culture–building initiative.
Prior to joining Apollo Theater, Ms. Jing He co–produced the annual Concert of Excellence celebrating outstanding Asian Americans in entertainment on some of New York’s most important and historic stages including Jazz at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. As Managing Director of New York’s annual international Independent Film Week, she successfully produced and rebranded the then 30–year–old IFP Market and Conference.
Prior to coming to the U.S. in the 1990s, Ms. Jing He bridged connections and steered joint– venture establishments for some of the earliest companies introducing luxury brands such as Mercedes–Benz and BMW to the Chinese market. Ms. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from Florida State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Business from Beijing International Studies University.
Charles E. Phillips
Managing Partner and Co-Founder
Charles Phillips is the Managing Partner and Co-Founder at Recognize, a technology investment and transformation company with over $1 billion in assets. He is the former CEO and Chairman of Infor, the third-largest business software applications company in the world, with operations in 190 countries and 17,000 employees. Prior to Infor, Phillips was a Managing Director at Morgan Stanley in the Technology Group and served on its Board of Directors. He later served as President of Oracle Corporation and a member of its Board of Directors. Phillips served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps in the 2nd Battalion, 10th Marines at Camp Lejeune in a line of three generations of military service.
Phillips holds a B.S. in Computer Science from the U.S. Air Force Academy, a J.D. from New York Law School, and an MBA from Hampton University and is a member of the Georgia State Bar Association. Phillips serves on the Boards of ViacomCBS Corporation, American Express, the Apollo Theater, and the Council of Foreign Relations. Phillips also served on President Obama’s Economic Recovery Board and the board of the Federal Reserve of New York. He is also the co-founder and Co-Chairman of the Black Economic Alliance, a policy organization focused on economic growth in Black communities, and the co-founder of OneTen, a job training network for Black workers and large employers.
Richard D. Parsons
Providence Equity Partners, LLC
Richard Parsons is a founding member of Imagination Capital, a venture capital firm, and a Senior Advisor at Providence Equity Partners, Inc., a leading private equity investment firm specializing in media, communications, and information companies. Some of his earlier roles included serving as the Chairman and CEO of Dine Bancorp, Inc.; Managing Partner of the New York law firm Patterson, Belknap, Webb and Tyler; and holding various state and federal government positions. He is the former Chairman of the Board of Citigroup, Inc. and served as the Chairman of the Board and CEO of Time Warner Inc. from 2002 to 2008. From May through September, 2014, Mr. Parsons served as the Interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Mr. Parsons received his undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii and his legal training at Albany Law School. In 2008, Mr. Parsons served as a member of then-President-Elect Barack Obama’s Economic Transition Team and later served as a member of President Obama’s President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. His other civic and non-profit commitments include Chairman Emeritus of the Partnership for New York City, Chairman Emeritus of the Apollo Theater Foundation, and Chairman of the Jazz Foundation of America. He also serves on the boards of the Commission on Presidential Debates; the Estee Lauder Companies, Inc.; Lazard Frères and Company; and Madison Square Garden Sports, Inc.
Senior Director of Production
Cheles Rhynes is currently on the staff of the World-Famous Apollo Theater in New York, NY as Senior Director of Production. In recent past, he was also on staff at Austin Community College as a Theatre Production Technician, acting as Master Electrician for both the Dance & Drama departments. In additional recent past, he was on staff at the historic Paramount/State Theatres in the heart of downtown Austin, TX as a Production Manager. Prior to these positions, he was on staff at Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa, FL as a Production Manager (Straz Center is the fifth largest performing arts center in the country.
Cheles was the Co-Founder and Executive Director of MRP Inc., a presenting, producing and production management arts organization. His multi-faceted
experience in technical theatre has taken him to Brazil, Lithuania, Croatia, Poland, Bosnia, Serbia, Ireland, Turkey, Amsterdam, Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan, as well as all of the lower 48 continuous states in the USA.
Cheles’ award-winning lighting designs, technical direction and stage management has been used by: Alvin Ailey II, Grupo Hadeja of Belgrade, Andrea E.Woods & Dancers/Souloworks, Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group, hjw/EDGEWORKS Dance Theater, vocalist Tamara Wellons, Stephanie Powell Danse Ensemble, Nejla Yatkin, hiphop/writer/spoken word artist Toni Blackman, Gesel Mason Performance Projects, CityDance Ensemble, Company E, Carpetbag Theatre, Scottish Rite Theatre, Amy Morrow/The Theorists, Maia Maiden Productions and The VORTEX Theater.
Laura Greer joined the world–famous Apollo Theater in 2005 after over twenty years of working in the performing arts. She is dedicated to presenting and commissioning artists of African descent and introducing new voices and talents to the attention of diverse audiences.
Greer is currently a Senior Producer at the Apollo Theater. Throughout her tenure, she has been a member of the leadership team and instrumental in shaping the design and implementation of the “new” artistic vision and strategies for the Apollo’s performing arts, education and community programs, and archive project.
Ms. Greer has created several of the Apollo Signature Programs: the Salon Series, a new works residency and performance series providing critical support in the creation and development of contemporary new work; Music Café, a late–night cabaret series spotlighting the next generation
of music artists; and Africa Now!, an annual festival that celebrates the best of today’s African music. She’s spearheaded and managed several international collaborations including Breakin’ Convention (2013, 2015, 2017) , an international hip hop dance theater festival with Sadler’s Wells, London; a collaboration with Jazz à Vienne (2014, 2016), a leading European jazz festival in Vienne, France, featuring presentations in Vienne and New York; Amateur Night Goes to London (2012), the first international presentation of Amateur Night at Hackney Empire; and the Apollo’s successful presentation of Southbank London’s New York premiere of the Women of the World Festival 2015, 2017 (WOW).
Prior to her work at the Apollo, Ms. Greer was the Associate Producer at the National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta, Georgia (1999–2005), where she was responsible for the artistic and production oversight of the annual ten–day festival. She has also served as the Director of Programming at 651 Arts at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Majestic Theater, specializing in works grounded in the African Diaspora. She has held various leadership positions at Aaron Davis Hall at City College of New York (1985–1998), now known as Harlem Stage.
Greer has served on numerous panels and committees, including the Mid–Atlantic Arts Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Harlem Arts Festival, Georgia Council on the Arts, a primary partner of the 651 Arts Africa Exchange Project, and the Bessie Committee.
Senior Director of Programming
Leatrice Ellzy is a seasoned arts leader, curator, producer, thinker and fan of disruption. She is currently the Sr. Director of Programming at the Apollo Theater where she serves as a primary steward of the Apollo’s artistic vision and helps shape the strategic program direction of one of New York City’s most vital performing arts centers, and one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated artistic brands. Her unique skill set has developed over 32 years of experience in nonprofit management and development, broadcast, media relations, arts presenting & technology.
Her arts management and administration experience developed through work at Woodruff Arts Center and the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF). She produced for NBAF from 2002-2005. In 2005 she was hired to manage the organization’s artistic programming and later became the organization’s 5th Artistic Director. Prior to joining the Apollo staff, she served as Executive Director of Atlanta’s Hammonds House Museum where she was charged with reimagining the organization for the 21st century in terms of strategies for institutional sustainability and artistic focus.
Leatrice is active in the field, serving on panels, advisory committees and participating in conversations about the state of the arts nationally, regionally and locally. Her past and present professional affiliations include Association of Performing Arts Presenters, Fractured Atlas, Women of Color in the Arts, the Contemporary African Arts Consortium, C4 Atlanta, Idea Capital, Fulton County Arts Council, LANE National Advisory Committee and the National Performance Network Board of Directors.