The Apollo Theater’s Legacy Series celebrates the music, theater, and dance legacy of the Apollo, Harlem, and African American culture.  The programs are contemporary productions focused on the artists, arts forms, and places that were central to the growth and development of African American and American culture.  These performances include emerging and established artists, historic and contemporary interpretations of classic music and dance work, and new compositions and choreography.



Saturday, December 13, 2014
at 3pm and 8pm

Sunday, December 14, 2014 at 3pm
Featuring David Berger Jazz Orchestra, Norm Lewis, Lizz Wright, Priscilla Baskerville, Jason Samuels Smith, 50-Voice Arts High School Advanced Choir, students from Dance Theater of Harlem, and special guests


This presentation will take place as part of the Holidays at the Apollo series.  Duke Ellington was an Apollo legend and headliner and performed during a period that was often considered as the Apollo’s golden years during the 1930s and 1940s. Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz and his music is often described as “beyond category.”  His music stretched into various other genres including blues, gospel, film scores, pop, and classical.

This special holiday presentation will include Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite and a recreation of his Sacred Music Concerts, both under the musical direction of David Berger.   The first part of the program will be Ellington’s The Nutcracker Suite, which was recorded in 1960.  The Suite features jazz interpretations, arranged by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, of The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky.

This Apollo exclusive, with musical direction by David Berger, features the 16-piece David Berger Jazz Orchestra, narrator Norm Lewis, and performances by Lizz Wright, Priscilla Baskerville, tap dancer Jason Samuels Smith, a 50-Voice Arts High School Advanced Choir, and students from Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Monday-Saturday, May 4-9, 2015

The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival is presented in collaboration with Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile and celebrates the rich legacy of jazz in the uptown community, bringing both established and emerging artists to famed Harlem venues.  In addition to concerts at still existing jazz shrines such as the Apollo and Minton's, events also take place at Harlem Stage Gatehouse and a variety of locations throughout the Harlem area.

The availability of $10 tickets provides access to everyone and allows people the option of attending several events each day, continuing the tradition of nonstop jazz throughout Harlem.

Featuring Jason Moran, Curator & Music Director; Marc Cary, Music Director; and Special Guest Roy Hargrove with Afro Blue, Lakecia Benjamin, Gerald Clayton, Jimmy Cobb, Milton "GoGo Mickey" Freeman, Kenny "Kwick" Gross, Bertha Hope, Donvonte McCoy, Federico Gonzalez Peña, Queen Esther, Bill Saxton, Brian Settles, Brianna Thomas, and Ben Williams
Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 8pm
A collaboration presented by the Apollo Theater and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


Presented by two iconic institutions, the historic jazz scenes of Harlem and Washington, DC’s U Street neighborhood are highlighted in a contemporary exploration of the music that has linked these two cities for nearly a century.

Curated and musically directed by pianist and Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Jazz Jason Moran with pianist and Music Director Marc Cary, the all-star lineup of performers includes seasoned veterans and up-and-comers from both communities with contemporary performances spotlighting key artists from each city (Duke Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, etc.)  as well as seminal works and movements (swing, bop, and Go-Go).  

The evening will be in three parts:
The Piano

With dual pianos onstage, all-star pianists Curator and Music Director Jason Moran, Music Director Marc Cary, Bertha Hope, and Gerald Clayton connect the dots between jazz luminaries in both New York and Washington, DC including Duke Ellington and Dr. Billy Taylor.

The Voice

Vocalists Queen Esther, Brianna Thomas, and Howard University’s premier vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue (directed by Connaitre Miller) mine the rich, related vocal history of the New York and Washington, DC jazz scenes.

The Jam

The evening closes with an explosive jam featuring trumpeters Roy Hargrove and Donvonte McCoy, bassist Ben Williams, NEA Jazz Master drummer Jimmy Cobb, pianist Federico Gonzalez Peña, DC Go-Go percussionist Milton "Go-Go Mickey" Freeman, drummer Kenny "Kwick" Gross, and saxophonists Lakecia Benjamin and Bill Saxton.

Other Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival Activities at the Apollo Theater Include:

Amateur Night
Featuring Special Guests Alexis Morasst
and Patrick Bartley
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 7:30pm

Apollo Music Café
Featuring The Baylor Project
Friday May 8, 2015 at 10pm
Curated by Jodine Dorce


Apollo Music Café
Featuring D.C. Live! From Funk to Crunk to Crank with Christylez Bacon with Taylor Young and Black Alley
Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 10pm
Curated by Shay Stevens


Live Wire: Harlem’s Music Legacy
Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 6:30pm
Free with RSVP

Nefertari Kirkman-Bey moderates this discussion reflecting on Harlem’s jazz legacy – the artists, venues, and styles that made Harlem central to the development of the music and the current infusion of energy in the community around this timeless art form. With Jana Herzen (Motema Records), Jason Moran, Richard Parsons (Minton’s), and Bill Saxton (Bill’s Place).

School Day Live
Featuring Revive Big Band
Friday, May 8, 2015 at 11:30am
Presented in Collaboration with Community Works

In this interactive presentation, complete with a 15 piece big band, DJ, and emcee, students will learn about the connections between jazz and hip hop, the history of classic and contemporary compositions, and the difference between improvised and written music as well as live versus electronically produced music.   Students will leave with exciting new connections to jazz and its relevance to their lives.

Family Showtime
Featuring April Armstrong & Friends: The Cat Came Back, Stories and Songs with a Jazzy Twist
Preshow: Reese’s Journey Through Rhythm
Saturday May 9, 2015 at 1pm (pre-show begins at 12:40pm)

Musician and Storyteller April Armstrong and her trio add a new spin to some of our favorite stories including Ananci and the Sky Chief's Daughter and Old Mother Hubbard's Blues.

This is a 60 minute music/storytelling performance for ages 4 – adults.


The Apollo Theater collaborates with the historic Showman’s Jazz Club to present local artists and Harlem favorites. 
Hosted by Mona Lopez.

Showman’s Jazz Club
375 West 125th Street (between Morningside & St. Nicholas Avenues)

Jared Gold
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 at 8:30pm, 10pm, and 11:30pm
Attendance requires a two drink minimum per person per set


Ed Cherry
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 8:30pm, 10pm and 11:30pm
Attendance requires a two drink minimum per person per set


Boncellia Lewis
Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 8:30pm, 10pm and 11:30pm
Attendance requires a two drink minimum per person per set


Afro-Cuban Percussionist Joaquin Pozo
Friday, May 8, 2015 at 9pm and 11pm
Attendance requires a two drink minimum per person per set


Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 9pm and 11pm
Attendance requires a two drink minimum per person per set