Apollo Celebrates Black History Month In Harlem

apollo theater signThis February, the world famous Apollo Theater will host a series of artistic and community programs in celebration of 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. The Apollo’s 2015 Black History Month programming includes the return of the Theater’s signature talent competition, Amateur Night, which begins its season with special guest artist Grammy Award-winning R&B Soul singer Chrisette Michele and a host of new contestants; the annual Apollo Open House Weekend, free and open to the public, will explore the relationship between the arts and activism; a night of comedy beginning with an Apollo Live Wire discussion on the history of comedy at the legendary Theater followed by Apollo Comedy Club featuring Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green and John Laster.

See the full listing below:

Apollo Live Wire: Comedy at the Apollo

Thursday, February 4, 2016; 6:30 p.m.

Butterbeans & Susie, Moms Mabley, Flip Wilson, Timmie Rogers, Redd Foxx, Dick Gregory, Chris Rock – the list of comedians who have performed at the Apollo is long and impressive. The story of comedy at the Apollo offers insights into the history of Black humor, politics, and entertainment. Mel Watkins (journalist and author of On The Real Side), comedian Leighann Lord and Bob Sumner (producer of Def Comedy Jam and Apollo Comedy Club curator) take us on a journey to discover some of the comedians who played the Apollo and forever changed American comedic style.

Apollo Live Wire discussions invite deeper engagement with the Apollo’s artistic programming. Apollo Live Wire Discussions are recorded and podcasts created to extend the audience reach and for inclusion in the Theater’s archives.

Apollo Live Wires are free and open to the public.

Apollo Comedy Club Featuring Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green & John Laster 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

(Doors open for bar, food and music at 9pm and the show begins at 10pm)

The Apollo has returned to its comedic roots, with Apollo Comedy Club, which launched in October 2015. Presented in partnership with the legendary Bob Sumner (producer of Def Comedy Jam, creator of LaffMobb on Aspire), the Apollo Comedy Club will feature an evening of comedy on the Apollo’s intimate Soundstage starring the best up and coming talent in comedy today including Me Me Simpson, Kareem Green and John Laster. The comedy shows will precede the Theater’s weekend music series, Apollo Music Café, extending the Theater’s late night offerings.

Tickets for 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 Weekend

February 6 – 7, 2016

In celebration of Black History Month, the Apollo Theater will open its doors for a FREE weekend of activities. This year’s Open House weekend will explore the arts and its role in activism, as well as the Apollo’s relationship with the artist activists.

Say it Loud: Arts and Activism at the Apollo

Saturday, February 6, 2016; 2 pm – 5 pm

A day of film and music presentations devoted to spotlighting legendary Apollo artists such as James Brown, Nina Simone, Bob Marley and more who championed the concept of black pride and other social justice issues. With performances by rising stars of today including musicians Chris Rob, Lynette Williams, Mysonne, Mavis SWAN Poole and Steff Reed, poet NeNe Ali and Amateur Night winner King Solomon Hicks. Co-hosted by radio personalities Imhotep Gary Byrd (WLIB and WBLS’s Express Yourself) and Bob Slade (WBLS’s Open Line) with Apollo Tour Director and In-House Historian Billy Mitchell.

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Sunday, February 7, 2016; 2 pm

The Apollo Theater, in partnership with Independent Lens & THIRTEEN, present a free screening of Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, the first feature-length documentary exploring the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture and to the cultural and political awakening of black people.

The screening will be followed by a discussion with director Stanley Nelson, former members of the Black Panther Party Kathleen Cleaver, Ericka Huggins and David Lemieux, journalist Jamilah Lemieux (Ebony Magazine) and activist Dante Barry. Moderated by THIRTEEN’s MetroFocus Producer and Host Rafael Pi Roman. The event will also include inspirational music by the IMPACT Repertory Theatre Performance Company.

Apollo Music Café: Mykal Kilgore

Friday, February 5, 2016; 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9 pm)

Curated by Dwight Jordan

Mykal Kilgore returns to the Apollo Soundstage after a stunning performance in the recent holiday musical The First Noel. A once-in-a-generation talent known for his powerhouse vocals and impeccable acting chops, Kilgore has graced the Broadway stage in multiple productions (Hair, Motown the Musical, The Book of Mormon and Marley) as well as in NBC’s critically acclaimed television broadcast of The Wiz Live. For one night only, take a musical journey with Kilgore through the halls of gospel, jazz, soul and contemporary musical theatre.

Tickets for Apollo Music Café 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 Music Café: The Seshen

Saturday, February 6, 2016; 10 pm (doors open for bar and food at 9pm)

Curated by Dwight Jordan

The Seshen is a San Francisco Bay Area-based band that draws influences from an eclectic range of artists including Little Dragon, J. Dilla, Erykah Badu, Lion Babe, SZA and Hiatus Kaiyote. Their music fuses hip-hop, soul, pop and electronica ,    producing an original sound.

Tickets for Apollo Music Café 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.

Amateur Night: Opening Night with Special Guest Artist Chrisette Michele

Wednesday, February 17, 2016; 7:30 pm

The 2016 season begins this February with special guest artist R&B Soul singer/songwriter Chrisette Michele and a new line-up of contestants competing to win the title of Super Top Dog and a prize of $10,000. Hosted by the comedian Capone, Amateur Night begins with a pre-party featuring video and music by DJ Jess. The show also features master impressionist and tap dancer CP Lacey as the “Executioner,” who escorts contestants who have been booed off the stage and the Amateur Night house band led by music director, Michael Mitchell.

Special Guest Artist: As a teenager, R&B Soul singer/songwriter Chrisette Michele led a gospel choir in her father’s church. Before long she began to work with some of hip hop’s biggest stars including Jay-Z, Nas, Rick Ross, The Roots, Wale, The Game and more. In 2007 Chrisette released her star-making debut album I Am with several hit singles including “Be OK,” which earned her a Grammy Award for Best Urban/Alternative Performance. She followed up with an appearance on The Roots album Rising Down and her chart-topping second album,Epiphany, which confirmed her status as one of R&B’s most creative singer/songwriters.

On her new album, Milestone, Chrisette leaves her audience blown away while redefining what it means to be a diva. Her newest music celebrates the sensuality of women who still believe in love. In the last year, Chrisette celebrated creating the Rich Hipster label and a signed distribution deal with Capitol/Caroline Records. As the CEO of her own record label, Chrisette’s Rich Hipster movement is returning to the power of femininity. She can also be seen on the reality TV show R&B Divas Los Angeles on TV One. Most recently her incredibly diverse talents have landed her on the Soul Train Awards with Erykah Badu, being a panelist at Beauty Con, and creating the Pose n Post Symposium to raise awareness around female entrepreneurship.

As she continues to give back in the community by supporting charities such as Girls, Inc., American Heart Association and VH1 Save the Music, she will also be starting her own charitable organization called Young Belle launching in the fall. Chrisette Michele’s heart and next project lies in her new album Milestone being released Spring 2016 with a tour to follow in the summer.

Tickets for Amateur Night begin at $20 and are available at The Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street. Ticketmaster at 1-800- 745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.

For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org.

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