Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Jackson 5, Patti LaBelle, Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, The Isley Brothers, Lauryn Hill Mariah Carey. What do all these legends have in common…The world renowned Apollo Theatre in New York City, in fact not only have all these artists performed in one of the most famous, oldest and historic music halls in the world but is also responsible for launching the careers of many of these artists. Dubbed as the place “where stars are born and legends are made”, The Apollo Theatre created a platform, highlighting the rich talent of many black entertainers from the past and present we have come to love cherish.
One of the only theatres in New York for many years to hire people of color, the Apollo Theatre rose to prominence during the Harlem Renaissance, 1934 the theatre introduced what we all still know today as “Amateur Night at the Apollo”, a regular show, judged by the audience where unknown artists compete for first place and let us say who cannot remember watching Amateur Night at the Apollo. Every week during our youth we can recall this as one of our favorite childhood memories especially watching “Executioner” sweep his way across the stage with his broom at the heels of amateur night contestants who the audience disliked and let us tell you the Apollo audience back in the day was no joke, no matter what the age everyone’s talent was judged and at the disposal of the audience. Amateur Night has produced some unforgettable moments including in 1964 when Jimi Hendrix performed and won first place.
With all the landmark history and childhood memories the Apollo Theatre has to offer the Apollo Theatre Needs You! As Blog Ambassadors, working in conjunction with American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation we are sharing a few of our favorite sites this month that are competing for a total of 3 million dollars in grants awarded to historic sites by an initiative called Partners in Preservation . With San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Seattle, and Saint Paul/Minneapolis as pass grantees, New York is the official 2012 inductee with 40 historic sites competing for the grants. The outcome of the competition is solely decided by you! With only 2 days left, the Apollo theatre is ranked at # 16 so we are asking are UBB fam to weigh in.
All of the 40 sites listed are amazing and you can vote for anyone of the landmark candidates here but there are some that hold a special place in our heart so we are asking for your help. You do not have to be a New Yorker to make a difference. Anyone in the world over the age of 13 can vote here. The process is easy so remember to vote today because the process ends on May 21st!
Apollo Theatre Restorations
“As part of its overall capital improvements plan, the Apollo will undertake a restoration of specific decorative elements in its historic auditorium, the Main Stage, a 1500 seat venue for presenting diverse performing arts programming. Restoration plans include the decorative plasters on the box seats and doorways, details on the fascia on the mezzanine, and the ornamental wall which separates the seating area from the auditorium lobby.”