The Apollo Theater Announces Spring 2020 Season




Today, the iconic nonprofit Apollo Theater announced details of its spring 2020 season featuring genre-spanning performances—from music, dance, and theater to comedy and film screenings—that continue the theater’s strong mission of articulating African American narratives through cultural programming. Season highlights include the Apollo’s Africa Now! and African Film Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration presenting the legendary Oumou Sangaré; Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber performing Isaac Hayes’ Academy Award-winning score Shaft, alongside a screening of the film; the Apollo Salon Series presentation of A Time to Love, a musical theater collaboration with National Black Theatre; and the signature series that brings patrons to the Apollo year-round, Amateur Night at the Apollo, Apollo Music Café, and Apollo Comedy Club.Through its programming, educational, and community initiatives, the Apollo continues to advance its commitment to creating a 21st century performing arts canon, providing a home to artists and the community, while tackling important social issues for Harlem, New York, and the nation.

Here it is ~ The  exciting Apollo Theater 2020 Spring Season.

Uptown Hall – The Strategic King: MLK’s Visionary Leadership
Sunday, January 12 at 3:00 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Moderated by WNYC’s Peabody Award-winning host Brian Lehrer and local All Things Consideredhost Jami Floyd, with WQXR’s Terrance McKnight serving as Master of Ceremonies, Apollo Uptown Hall – The Strategic King: MLK’s Visionary Leadership will examine Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s immense skills as both a political and media strategist. A panel of activists, faith leaders, journalists, scholars, and more will discuss the tactics Dr. King and his colleagues used to influence legislation, engaged the media to build support for their cause, and what can be learned from their strategies that would further today’s movements. For the first time the event will take place in front of a live Apollo audience on January 12, a week before the King Holiday weekend, and recorded by WNYC’s award-winning producers for future broadcast on WNYC and public radio stations’ airwaves nationwide and internationally via the internet on and around the January 20 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Panelists include journalist, educator, and author Herb Boyd; author Taylor Branch; Reverend Canon Kelly Brown Douglas; Washington Post opinion writer Jonathan Capehart; national youth director for National Action Network Mary-Pat Hector; Harvard professor of history, race, and public policy Khalil Gibran Muhammad; poet, playwright, and performance artist Jessica Care Moore; Color of Change President Rashad Robinson; former South Carolina State Representative Bakari Sellers; visual artist Carrie Mae Weems; and United States Poet Laureate in 2012 and 2013 Natasha Trethewey.

Apollo Open House: Celebration of Cool
Saturday, February 1 at 2:00 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Free and open to the public, the Apollo Open House is co-sponsored by THIRTEEN and Firelight Media, with support from WBGO-FM. Co-hosted by tour director, Billy “Mr. Apollo” Mitchell, and Jenna Flanagan, host of MetroFocus, as seen on THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and NJTV. Open House: Celebration of Cool will feature live performances and multi-media presentations looking back on the Apollo’s famed history and future. This event will also include a preview of the PBS documentary American MastersMiles Davis: Birth of the Cool before its PBS broadcast premiere on THIRTEEN, followed by a post-film panel with director Stanley Nelson, musician James Mtume and more names to be announced at a later date, moderated by NJTV News Correspondent/Anchor and WBGO reporter Michael Hill. With full access to the Miles Davis Estate, the film will feature never-before-seen footage, outtakes from recording sessions and rare photos, as well as luminaries such as Quincy Jones, Carlos Santana, Clive Davis, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter discussing the life and career of a true visionary and originator who defies categorization.

The famed Signature Wall, backstage at The Apollo Theater

Live Wire – Bad Mother*%^#! | Black Music on the Big Screen
Tuesday, February 18 at 6:30 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Greg Tate, founder and musical director of Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, guides audiences in a consideration on Isaac Hayes’ timeless soundtrack for the 1972 film Shaft and other classics from the era when soul and R&B took over the movie screen.

Apollo Film Presents: ImageNation’s Cocktails & Cinema
Thursday, February 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $25

ImageNation, an innovative Harlem-based company, partners with the Apollo to present quarterly socials featuring premier and advance screenings that highlight the global Black experience, preceded by a reception with a live DJ/performance, followed by a talkback. Film to be announced.

Take a look backstage at The Apollo Theater

Apollo Film Presents: Shaft, with Live Music from Burnt Sugar, the Arkestra Chamber
Saturday, February 29 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $29

The Apollo will screen the original 1971 film Shaft, accompanied by the live music performance of the score by Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber. Greg Tate, cultural critic and the founder/conductor of Burnt Sugar will lead a live scoring of the film that will showcase the funk and sensuality of Isaac Hayes’ score while teasing out the experimental potential of its seductive, frothy themes. The title song ‘Theme from Shaft,” easily ranks among the most memorable feature film themes of the past four decades. It shot to number one on the Billboard Top 40, and the score as a whole won numerous awards, including four Grammys and two Oscar nominations, for which Hayes won Best Original Song at the Academy Awards. To add to the atmosphere, the audience will be encouraged to wear their best Black Power-inspired fashion, building on Shaft and the host of 70s films that captured the style that continues to influence fashion today.

From the stage, looking at the audience, Apollo Theater

WOW – Women of the World Festival Teen Summit
Saturday, March 14 at 12:00 p.m.
Free with RSVP

This year’s WOW: Teen Summit seeks to explore the impact of young women in politics both on a local and global scale. Girls and women around the world have a long-standing history of leading the charge on issues of gender politics, sparking movements, and inciting governmental changes in policy. Today, young people are establishing a firmer hold in the political realm, ensuring that women’s rights are on the forefront of decision-makers minds and inspiring new movements in the process. Through performances and panel discussions, the teen summit will dissect gender politics and the role of women of color within it, while opening up a dialogue that encourages a call to action.

WOW: Elaine Welteroth and Harriette Cole
Saturday, March 14 at 7:00 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Elaine Welteroth is a New York Times bestselling author, award-winning journalist, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Throughout her magazine career, Welteroth broke new ground as the youngest person and the second African American to hold this title in Condé Nast’s 107-year history. Under her leadership, the magazine notably increased coverage of news and politics, encouraging readers to become civically engaged, specifically during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. She’s now a leading expert, advocate, and voice for the next generation of change-makers. Welteroth’s first book, “More Than Enough,” was published by Viking Press this past summer.

Ms. Welteroth will be in conversation with Harriette Cole.  Ms. Cole is a best-selling author, editor, motivational speaker, and presentation coach. The former editor-in-chief of Ebony magazine is the author of seven lifestyle books. Cole has coached a broad range of entertainers, including Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Saweetie, and Lil Tjay; corporations including BET Networks, Bank of America, and Digitas, as well as educational institutions such as Hunter College. Presented in partnership with WOW – Women of the World Festival.

Apollo Live Wire: Aretha!
Tuesday, March 24 at 6:30 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Live Wire honors the legacy of the great Aretha Franklin in a discussion led by writer and cultural critic Emily Lordi.

Tree of Hope Stump on stage at The Apollo

The Apollo Theater Africa Now! and African Film Festival 30th Anniversary Celebration present Oumou Sangaré
Saturday, April 4 at 8:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $30

The annual concert, a highlight of the Apollo’s season, celebrates not only the best of today’s African music scene but spotlights how the music of the diaspora has impacted the continent. In 2020, the Apollo is partnering with the African Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, to present a performance by the legendary Grammy Award-winning Malian Wassoulou musician Oumou Sangaré.

Apollo Salon Series: A Time to Love
Monday, April 27 – Saturday, May 2
Written by Sade Lythcott
In partnership with National Black Theater
Tickets are $20

Set against the backdrop of national protests around the decay of civility, idealism, and street loyalty, A Time to Love is an ageless musical tale of love in the midst of social unrest. Caught between two worlds, Aisha and Junior try to shake off the restraints of their family legacy and family sins that threatens their relationship. With whispers of their past predicting doom and street life prophesying their future, Aisha & Junior strive to find peace in all of the tumult around them and fight for their time to love.

Apollo Live Wire: Dancing in the Streets – Rhythm Rebels
Thursday, April 20 at 6:30 p.m.
Free with RSVP

Dancing in the Streets considers the history and larger cultural context of social dance in Black and Latinx communities.

Apollo Film Presents: ImageNation’s Cocktails & Cinema 
Thursday, May 21 at 6:00 p.m.
Tickets are $25

ImageNation, an innovative Harlem-based company, partners with the Apollo to present quarterly socials featuring premier and advance screenings that highlight the global Black experience, preceded by a reception with a live DJ/performance, followed by a talkback. Film to be announced.

Apollo Live Wire: Centennial Celebration of Hazel Scott
Monday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Free with RSVP

The Apollo will honor the artistry, musicianship, and activism of Hazel Scott on the 100th anniversary of her birth.

Amateur Night at the Apollo Spring Dates:
All shows at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets start at $24

Wednesday, February 19
Wednesday, February 26
Wednesday, March 4
Wednesday, March 11
Wednesday, March 18
Wednesday, March 25
Wednesday, April 1
Wednesday, April 8
Wednesday, April 15
Wednesday, April 22
Wednesday, April 29
Wednesday, May 6
Wednesday, May 13
Wednesday, May 20
Wednesday, May 27
Wednesday, June 3
Wednesday, June 10
Wednesday, June 17
Wednesday, June 24

Amateur Night at the Apollo is sponsored by Coca-Cola.

Apollo Comedy Club Spring Dates
Doors at 9:00 p.m., show at 10:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $22

Thursday, January 9 – Corey Manning, Chocolat Chi, Craig McLaren, Hosted by Timmy Hall
Thursday, February 6 – Rob Love, Coby Jackk, Stiletto, Hosted by Just Nesh
Thursday, March 5 – Coco Fresh, Lamarr Todd, Mickey Housley, Hosted by Fig
Thursday, April 2 – Think Floyd, Derrick OC Reid, Shanelle Renee, Hosted by Mike Brooks
Thursday, May 7 – Keith Ruffin, Jr., Brian Tucker, Hosted by Mark Viera
Thursday, June 4 – Ronnie Jordan, G Levi, Big Eli, Hosted by Rita Brent

Apollo Music Café Spring Line-Up
Doors at 9:00 p.m., show at 10:00 p.m.
Tickets start at $22

Friday, January 10 – Yoli Zama
Saturday, January 11 – Tony Tixier
Friday, February 7 – Pitch Slapped
Saturday, February 8 – Rue Brown
Friday, March 6 – Broadway Uptown: Lelund Durond & Jason Michael Webb
Saturday, March 7 – Storm Marrero
Friday, April 3 – Africa Now! Natu & DJ Sabine Blaizin
Saturday, April 4 – Africa Now! After Party
Friday, May 8 – Jared Wayne Gladly
Saturday, May 9 – The Ron Grant Songbook
Friday, June 5 – Christian McBride Big Band & Friends
Saturday, June 6 – Christian McBride Big Band & Friends

While spring 2020 programming will take the stage at the Apollo’s landmark home, the institution continues to develop the theaters at the Victoria, marking the first physical expansion in the Apollo’s history and the first phase in the expansion to the Apollo Performing Arts Center. For more information about the theaters at the Victoria and the Apollo’s mission to work with and support a greater number of emerging and established artists of color across disciplines, click here.

Tickets for Apollo Comedy Club and Apollo Music Café are available now at the Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or Please check for updates on ticket availability to additional 2020 spring season programming.

Rendering image via

Take a look at progress at Victoria Theatre.