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The Apollo theater is one of the great legends of black music and performance history. It first opened as a burlesque theater in 1914, then reopened as The Apollo in 1934. Since then, it's been famous both for the many seasoned musicians who performed there, as well as for the Wednesday amateur nights, where many new talents, including Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown and Jimi Hendrix, were first discovered. The model of the talent competition has been copied by Star Search and American Idol. Today, the Apollo continues as a popular venue featuring many brilliant performers. It is also becoming increasingly engaged with other aspects of the Harlem community, for example by starting the Apollo archive to preserve artifacts of the musical legacy of Harlem. The building received landmark status in 1983 and is currently in the final stages of a renovation that includes the installation of 1500 house seats.
For a more detailed account of the Apollo's history, including a decade by decade view, check
Archive of the Apollo Theater
Developing collection of historical and current material produced in and by the Apollo theater. Aims to show the particular aspects and influences on American and Black culture that were cultivated in the Apollo.
Apollo Theater Schedule of Events
Current Schedule of Amateur Night. Amateur Night is one of the most legendary traditions of the Apollo. Ella Fitzgerald had her first break when she won the Amateur Night competition in 1934 and many other performers met their audience here early on in their career.
Interactive Timeline of Apollo Theater
An interactive timeline of the Apollo theater with a more detailed history of the venue and its development with and within the neighborhood.
The Object of My Affection
The Object of My Affection by Connee Boswell. This was the song with which Ella Fitzgerald first performed at the Apollo. Connee Boswell was one of her favorite performers at the time and a great influence on Fitzgerald’s early singing.
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