Celebrating the 85th Anniversary of the Famed Apollo Theater in Harlem




What better way to kick-off an 85th anniversary than to announce a spectacular Winter/Spring 2019 Season ~ at Harlem’s Apollo Theater.

The famed Apollo Theater, with Mr. Apollo ~ Billy Mitchell ~ on stage

The celebration will begin on February 2nd with an Open House beginning at 2pm, hosted by Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell, and including Jazzmobile and the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling.  The Apollo has a lot to celebrate, with its recent announcement that the famed theater has begun its first phase of construction at its neighboring Victoria Theatre, scheduled for a Fall 2020 opening.

Mr. Apollo, Billy Mitchell, in his office at The Apollo Theater

“From Africa Now! and Amateur Night, to the premiere of Twisted Melodies, and all the important work our education team is doing with teens and young adults, I am thrilled that our spring season continues to advance our mission and advocacy for African American and Harlem-based artists,” said Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater Executive Producer.

Box Seats ~ Apollo Theater

The 2019 Winter/Spring Season continues with the Apollo’s famed Amateur Night at the Apollo, opening on February 20th; Race Music weekend in conjunction with AFROPUNK will take place on February 21-23, with feature films curated by ImageNation Cinema Foundation and a special screening of Mr. Soul!

Take a look ~ Backstage at The Apollo Theater

With an ode to Women’s History Month, the third annual WOW – Women of the World Festival will return to the Apollo from March 12 through March 17th, with a plethora of great programming and more than 60 WOW Festivals.

From the stage, looking at the audience, Apollo Theater

The annual Africa Now! ~ DanceHall returns on Saturday, April 13th, celebrating the best of today’s African contemporary music and highlighting how the music of the diaspora has impacted the continent of Africa. The weekend will also include a film series in partnership with the New York African Film Festival.

Jonathan McCrory credit Christine Jean Chambers, courtesy National Black Theater

Also in April, WiLDFLOWERr, a work-in-progress being developed as part of National Black Theater’s Soul L.A.B. Residency and the Apollo Theater (which began in 2016) will take place on April 26 and 27. WiLDFLOWER is a new musical that follows a rebellious, but devoted young mother who unwittingly meets a Sangoma, learns her ancestors’ purpose for her young son, and then must choose between the cost of obeying her ancestors or the higher cost of defying them. Set in the tumult of the early 90’s in both South Africa & the US, WiLDFLOWER features an exciting South African Pop & Gospel score to tell this epic tale. Tshidi Manye (The Lion King) and Quentin Earl Darrington (Once on this Island) will take center stage.

The famed Signature Wall, backstage at The Apollo Theater

The Season will end with Twisted Melodies, a one-man theater production highlighting the life, artistry, and struggles of 1970s souls singer and composer Donny Hathaway, running from May 30th through June 2, 2019.

We can’t end this post without a close-up shot of the famed Tree of Hope stump that sits on a gold pillar in the wings of the right stage. The 12-inch log originally was planted six blocks away and was considered to bring good luck to the community. When it was cut down in 1934, Ralph Cooper Sr., the Apollo’s host at the time, bought this piece ~ to bring good luck to all who grace the stage.

Tree of Hope Stump on stage at The Apollo

Check the Apollo Theater’s complete 85th Anniversary Spring Season here.

Join The Apollo Theater on Friday, January 25th for a to kick off its 85th anniversary! Artists, institutions, arts presenters, tastemakers and YOU are invited to use for a real-time conversation about the impact of black artists + creatives on global culture!

Also of note, the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival will open with a documentary on The Apollo Theater, and it will be screened at the historic theater on April 24th.