This February, the world famous Apollo Theater will host a series of wide-ranging artistic and community programming to celebrate Black History Month. Throughout its history, the Apollo has consistently been a model of innovation and excellence, and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the nation. This year’s Black History Month programming includes the return of the Apollo’s signature show, Amateur Night, with a new digital twist; the popular emerging artist concert series Music Café; an Open House Weekend; representing the range and vibrancy of the Theater’s offerings.
Highlights of the Apollo’s February programming include:
- Apollo Amateur Night 2012 Opening Night – The 2012 season of the Apollo Theater’s signature weekly live show, Amateur Night, kicks off with several surprises marking the Theater’s 78th birthday, as well as a “dream” special guest performance by the original Dreamgirl– Jennifer Holliday. Wednesday, February 1st, 7:30pm
- Amateur Night Digital – The Apollo Theater launches a digital extension of its signature show, giving global audiences the opportunity to vote on their favorite Amateur Night contestants. Wednesday, February 1. www.apollotheater.org
- FREE Open House Weekend-The Apollo Theater will open its doors to give members of the Harlem community, New York City residents and tourists alike a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Apollo’s rich history, as well as the non-profit Theater’s current activities. The weekend activities highlight: upcoming Apollo performances events and cultural program of other local organizations, film clips and shorts on Apollo history, self-guided tour of the historic theatre, exhibition panels on Apollo theatre history, health screenings and cultural fair and information booths with cultural and community partners. Billy Mitchell, the Apollo Theater Ambassador is on hand throughout the weekend sharing Apollo history. Friday’s events to feature a special Community Sing with 10-time Grammy Award winning a cappella sextet Take 6, presented in collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series. Friday, February 3rd through Sunday, February 6th
- Apollo Music Café - Set in a club-like atmosphere on the Apollo Theater’s intimate, newly renovated Soundstage, Apollo Music Café is a showcase for emerging artists. The 2012 season’s opening weekend features up-and-coming innovators including: Left of Acoustic, Right of Soul featuring Candice Anitra and Jeremy Jones, and culminates with Hip-Hop Revolutionized featuring Bugnana sand MC Invincible. Friday, February 10th& Saturday, February 11th. Both shows begin at 10 pm (doors at 9pm).
Full listings on each program follow below
Amateur Night 2012 Opening Night 2012, Featuring Special Guest Star Jennifer Holliday and Launch of Amateur Night Online
February 1, 2012, 7:30pm
Sponsored By Coca-Cola
The 2012 season of the Apollo Theater’s signature weekly live show, Amateur Night at the Apollo kicks off, marking the 78th year of the world’s original amateur talent competition. Since its inception in 1934, Amateur Night has been one of New York City’s most popular live entertainment experiences, attracting performers and audiences from all over the world. Hosted by comedian Capone, Opening Night will feature several birthday surprises as well as a special “dream” performance by the original “Dream Girl” – Jennifer Holliday. She will sing “And I’m Telling You…I’m Not Going,” her hit song from the musical, which is the song sung most frequently by Amateur Night contestants. Hosted by comedian Capone, Opening Night will also feature Amateur Night staples such as “the Executioner,” played by C.P. Lacey, who escorts “booed” contestants off the stage, and the Apollo’s Amateur Night house band, headlined by Onree Gill.
Jennifer Holliday first gained national recognition for her performance in the lead role in the Broadway musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. That performance led to her star-making role in Dreamgirls, which featured her show-stealing performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” Her rendition of the song became an instant hit in 1982 and eventually became the standard bearer version of that song. The success of the record led Ms. Holliday to a long, thriving career in pop music. She returned to the stage in 1985, appearing in Sing, Mahalia, Sing, and Ms. Holliday continues to release pop music albums while on Broadway.
Apollo Theater Introduces Amateur Night Digital
Also on February 1, 2012, The Amateur Night experience will be taken to new heights with the launch of Amateur Night Digital to complement the weekly, live show – Amateur Night. One of the most exciting features on Amateur Night Digital (amateurnight.org) will be the “Remix Round” feature – an opportunity for performers who participated in the live show but who did not place as finalists to enlist their friends and fans to go online, view their performance, and submit a vote to bring the candidate back to a subsequent live Amateur Night competition at the Apollo. Via the new Amateur Night mobile app for iPhone and Android, users can also win points and rewards for app usage and get access to exclusive content after they leave the theater. The site will feature video clips from the live version of the show, pre- and post-performance interviews with artists, audience reaction, and testimonials. Amateur Night Digital will expand the Apollo’s reach well beyond its own four walls.
Apollo Theater Open House Weekend
Friday, February 3 – Sunday, February 5
Sponsored by Target
The Apollo Theater will open its doors to give members of the Harlem community, New York City residents and tourists alike a glimpse behind the scenes at the Apollo’s rich history as well as the non-profit Theater’s current activities.
Friday, February 3nd, 7pm
Community Sing with Take 6
Presented by the Apollo Theater in Collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series
Sponsored by Target
On Friday, as part of its Open House Weekend, in collaboration with Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series, the Apollo Theater presents a special community sing-a-long lead by 10-time Grammy Award–winning Christian jazz vocal group Take 6. Community Sing lead by 10-time Grammy Award–winning Christian jazz vocal group Take 6. Learn what it takes to be a member of this dynamic group as Take 6 leads the audience through an interactive performance of songs at the heart of what makes them unique.
Soul runs deep through the harmony-rich gospel sound of a capella sextet Take 6, channeling the uplifting spirit of doo-wop groups from the 1950s, even as they throw down fresh beats that call to mind the latest R&B and hip-hop. The group has recorded and performed with some of music’s(and the Apollo’s) greatest legends, including Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, and Stevie Wonder. Take 6 will perform selections from the Apollo stage as well as interact with the audience at various points during the show. This event is for audiences of all ages. Doors open at 6PM. Show begins at 7PM. Tickets to Community Sing are free but RSVP is required. RSVP at http://www.apollotheater.org/take6 or at the Apollo Theater Box Office. 4 tickets per individual or 12 tickets per organization. (Organizations will need to bring an official letter to the box office when picking up tickets.)
The Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concert Series is sponsored by Target®.
Community Sing events are part of the Neighborhood Concert Series
Carnegie Hall’s Neighborhood Concert Series is a program of the Weill Music Institute.
Saturday, February 4rd
On Saturday, the focus will be on dance, saluting to the dance genres and greats that have graced the Apollo’s stage. Audience members will watch inspiring performances and get to come on stage to learn various moves. Saturday’s presentation include performances by: Ballet Hispanico, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Forces of Nature Dance Theatre, Millennium Dance Company and Amateur Night winners Devastation Dance Crew. Neither tickets, nor reservations are required.
Also on Saturday, dancer and choreographer Mickey Davidson will lead a Family Dance Workshop on popular dances that have been performed at the Apollo throughout the 1930s through the 1960s, ranging from the Lindy Hop to the Hand Jive to the Jerk. Appropriate for ages 5 and over. Children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver. Space for this activity is limited. Pre-registration is strongly suggested via ApolloEducation.org.
Sunday, February 5th
12noon – 5pm
On Sunday, The Apollo Theater Open House Weekend culminates with a celebration of the music genres that made the Apollo legendary. This day will feature performances by:
Amateur Night contestants Mavis SWAN Poole & Soul Understated and “The Professor”; Apollo Music Café artists Bugnanas ; MTA MUNY’s The Body Electric; Refining Faith; Speaking in Rhythms; and others. Free and open to the public. No tickets or RSVPs necessary. There will also be a Family Instrument Making Workshop in the Theater’s Soundstage. Musician Kevin Hylton and visual artist Miah will guide participants in creating and decorating handmade instruments. Appropriate for ages 5 and over. Children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver.
Space for this activity is limited. Pre-registration is strongly suggested via ApolloEducation.org.
Apollo Music Café
Friday, February 10th& Saturday, February 11th
Sponsored by Heineken, Apollo Music Café is an intimate showcase set on the Apollo Theater’s newly renovated Soundstage, featuring the new innovators in music. Continuing the Apollo’s commitment to nurturing up-and-coming talent, Music Café has attracted a wide array of music and art lovers from the downtown hipsters to Harlem tastemakers. The series is designed to create opportunities for independent artists to shine, while cultivating unique experiences for its audience. Performances in Music Café include a diverse mix of live music, poetry, spoken word, comedy and spinning DJ’s. Tickets are $15 in advance for those on the Apollo’s A-List and $20 general admission. Tickets for Apollo Music Café 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.
Friday, February 10th
Show at 10pm, Doors at 9pm
Left of Acoustic, Right of Soul, Featuring Candice Anitra and Jeremy James
Left of Acoustic, Right of Soul is a pre-Valentine’s Day treat for lovers of raw, authentic Soul music. With echoes of Joan Armatrading and Meshell Ndegeocello, Candice Anitra has carved out a niche for herself in the Soul world with her seductively raspy voice and Jeremy Jones has created his own unique blend of soul music using his voice and his guitar. Both artists have, respectively, built loyal followings based on their unique abilities to create lanes outside of the box. On Friday, February 10th, these two underground powerhouses will take over Apollo Music Café for one night only.
Saturday, February 12th
Show at 10pm, Doors at 9pm
Hip-Hop Revolutionized – Featuring Bugnanas and MC
Pairing hip-hop duo Asa Buchanon and Phase-One of Bugnanas with the spitfire poetics of Detroit-based, social change agent and lyricist MC Invincible, yields an evening of galvanizing beats and scientific wordplay. All three of these artists are pure alchemists when it comes to taking the fundamentals of hip-hop and remixing it with innovative style and progressive content. Multi-talented songwriters, producers, and performers, Bugnanas brings masterful storytelling with a touch of soul to hip-hop. Arguably one of the best MC’s coming out of Detroit, Invincible is a wordsmith genius rooted in community organizing, empowerment, and movement building. Come experience Hip-Hop Revolutionized. Tickets are $15 in advance for those on the Apollo’s A-List and $20 general admission.