Published on February 2nd, 2018 | by Jerry Doby0
Apollo Theater Celebrates Diverse Programming Slate For ‘Black History Month’
This February, the world-famous Apollo Theater will host a series of artistic and community programs celebrating Black History Month. Since its inception in 1934, the legendary Theater has celebrated and provided a platform for emerging African American talent as one of the first theaters to integrate, and has since been a catalyst for rising artists of diverse backgrounds.
This year’s Black History Month programming epitomizes the range and vibrancy at the core of the Theater’s artistic mission, strengthening its integral role in the New York and Harlem communities.
Apollo Theater’s Black History Month Calendar Includes:
- Apollo Open House (Saturday, February 3 – Sunday, February 4), the world-famous Apollo Theater hosts an afternoon of programming with our legendary Theater opening its doors to give members of the Harlem community, New York City residents and visitors alike a unique and FREE glimpse at the Apollo’s rich history and current programs. Highlights include a special screening of Stanley Nelson’s Documentary: Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities.
- Late Nights at the Apollo presented on the Apollo’s intimate soundstage returns with a host of new innovative artists starting with Apollo Comedy Club (Thursday, February 1) and followed by the Theater’s groundbreaking Apollo Music Café with Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe (Friday, February 2) and former Amateur Night “Stars of Tomorrow” winner Matthew Whitaker (Saturday, February 3).
- Apollo Live Wire: On The Record, Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement (Tuesday, February 6), this discussion moderated by Jason King, journalist, and Associate Professor and the founding faculty member at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, will focus on the history of Black music, and Black-owned record companies’ relationship to equality and civil rights.
- Amateur Night Opening Night (Wednesday, February 21), the Apollo Theater’s signature program, now in its 84th year, opens with a host of new talent competing for the Super Top Dog title and a grand prize of $20,000.
- Soundtrack ’63 (Saturday, February 24), a Soul Science Lab Production, is a live musical documentary and multimedia experience, exploring integral historical events throughout the Civil Rights Movement and the pivotal year of 1963. Soundtrack ’63 includes performances by creators Chen Lo and Asante Amin along with special guests, Leon Bridges, Rhiannon Giddens, and Rapsody.
Full listings on each program below:
Late Nights at the Apollo
Presented on the Apollo’s soundstage, Late Nights at the Apollo includes the Theater’s groundbreaking Apollo Music Café and its latest initiative – Apollo Comedy Club. The Apollo Music Café presents forward-thinking, innovative artists and features diverse performances across a myriad of genres: R&B, hip-hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk, and rock. Apollo Comedy Club, which precedes the Apollo Music Café weekend, has seen the iconic Theater returning to its comedic roots with an evening of comedy starring the best up-and-coming talent in comedy today.
Apollo Comedy Club:
Thursday, February 1, 2018 (Doors open for bar, food and music at 9pm and the show begins at 10pm)
Featuring Ashima Franklin, Trey Elliot, and Artie Robb
Hosted by Gerald Kelly
The Apollo returns to its comedic roots with Apollo Comedy Club, which launched in October 2015. Presented in partnership with the legendary Bob Sumner (Co-Executive Producer and Talent Producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club features an evening of comedy on the Apollo’s intimate Soundstage starring the best up-and-coming talent in comedy today. The Apollo Comedy Club 2018 season will run monthly on Thursdays from January until June 2018.
Apollo Music Café:
Friday, February 2, 2018, 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9 pm)
Shelley Nicole’s blaKbüshe
I Am American: The Red, Whites & Blues
Curated by InJoy Enterprises
I Am American, the third blaKbüshe release, is Shelley Nicole’s sonically and topically valiant mission statement of self-empowerment, self-determination, self-love and self-care. The album is forged from the connective tissue of rock, soul, blues, jazz and funk. The project is part of the continuum of audacious, self-confident and eclectic Black sisterhood that extends from Rosetta Tharpe to Nina Simone to Betty Davis to Labelle to Joan Armatrading and Meshell Ndegeocello.
Apollo Music Café:
Saturday, February 3, 2018; 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9pm)
Amateur Night Alum Matthew Whitaker
Apollo favorite Matthew Whitaker returns to headline his first Apollo Music Café performance. In 2010, Matthew was a winning participant in the “Child Stars of Tomorrow” competition, as part of Amateur Night at the Apollo. A year later, at just 10 years old, he was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo Theater’s Hall of Fame. He returned to the Apollo for FOX TV’s revival of SHOWTIME AT THE APOLLO in 2016, where he won the audience over with his rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic “I Wish.” Matthew has been on national and international television, which included an appearance on the syndicated TV talk show “ELLEN!”
Additional performers and dates for the Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club season (February 2018 – June 2018) will be announced at a later date.
Tickets for Apollo Music Café and Apollo Comedy Club are $20 and $15 in advance for the Apollo’s A-List. There is a $10 drink/food minimum for each show. Tickets are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are on sale now.
Apollo Open House
Saturday, February 3, and Sunday, February 4, 2018
In celebration of Black History Month, the world famous Apollo Theater will host an afternoon of programming with the legendary Theater opening its doors to give members of the Harlem community, New York City residents and visitors alike a unique and FREE glimpse at the Apollo’s rich history and current programs. This event is hosted by Billy “Mr Apollo” Mitchell, the Apollo’s in-house historian and Director of Tours.
Saturday, February 3, 2018, 2-5pm
Still, We Rise!
The Apollo celebrates Black History Month starting with Open House Weekend Day One: Still, We Rise, by examining influential African-American milestones through imagery, spirituality, culture, activism, and creativity. Attendees will explore and honor these experiences during a free afternoon of performances, previews, and presentations by the Apollo Theater and other New York City institutions.
Sunday, February 4, 2018, 2-5pm
Tell Them We Are Rising
The Apollo Theater, Firelight Media, Independent Television Service, and WNET / Channel THIRTEEN will host a screening of Stanley Nelson’s “Tell Them We Are Rising – The Story of Black Colleges and Universities”. This event will offer an advance screening and panel featuring director Stanley Nelson, writer and professor Jelani Cobb, actor Simone Missick (Luke Cage), among other special guests, and will be moderated by MetroFocus anchor Rafael PiRoman. The event will include entertainment from the Delaware State University Marching Band and the Legendary, DJ Chris Washington. The event is part of The Apollo Theater’s Annual Open House weekend and will include booths from the United Negro College Fund, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Schomburg Center for the Study of Black Life and Culture, among other vendors.
Tickets will be required to attend Open House but they will be free of charge. For more information visit www.ApolloTheater.org/calendar
Apollo Live Wire: On the Record, Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement
Tuesday, February 6, 2018, 6:30 pm
This month, Live Wire considers the contributions of trailblazing Black owned record companies such as Motown and Vee Jay, James Brown’s People label, Clarence Avant’s Sussex, Sam Cooke’s SAR, and Gamble and Huff’s Philadelphia International to the struggle for human rights and the impact these companies have had on the music industry. Moderated by Jason King, journalist, musician, Associate Professor and founding faculty member at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.
This event is free and requires RSVP. For more information visit www.ApolloTheater.org/calendar
Amateur Night: Opening Night
Wednesday, February 21, 2018, 7:30 pm
The Apollo Theater’s signature program opens with a host of new talent competing for the Super Top Dog title and a brand new grand prize of $20,000. Now in its 84th year, Amateur Night continues to be a resource for discovering new talent and a defining experience for many emerging artists. The show has launched countless careers since 1934—from Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, Michael Jackson, D’Angelo, Jazmine Sullivan, and Lauryn Hill to recent winners including Matthew Whitaker, Machine Gun Kelly, and Christian Guardino.
Amateur Night at the Apollo is sponsored by Coca-Cola.
A Soul Science Lab Production
Saturday, February 24, 2018, 8:00 pm
With Special Guests Leon Bridges, Rhiannon Giddens, and Rapsody
Soundtrack ’63 is a Live Musical Documentary with spirituals, protest songs, and current popular music performed by an 18-piece orchestra, created by Brooklyn’s Soul Science Lab.
From the painful conditions that ignited the 1963 Civil Rights Movement to today’s Black Lives Matter Movement, and much triumphant progress in between, music has always strengthened outcries for justice. This concert event under the direction of Creative Director Chen Loand Musical Director Asante Amin, includes a host of dynamic performances by Rhiannon Giddens, Leon Bridges, and Rapsody, whose work breathes new life into the sights and sounds that shaped the music of an era. This new interpretation of the music of ‘63 includes jazz, hip-hop, soul, and poetry with a captivating video installation of archival footage and animation.
Soundtrack ’63 is a part of the Carnegie Hall citywide festival The ’60s: The Years that Changed America.
Tickets for Soundtrack ’63 start at $28.50 and are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are on sale now.
About the Apollo Theater
The legendary Apollo Theater—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.
With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella blockbuster concert, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the recent New York premiere of the opera Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention; international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and Special Projects, multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.
Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms, and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.Tweet