The Apollo Theatre
The Apollo Theatre first opened its doors in 1914 and was known as Hurtig and Simon’s New Burlesque Theatre. At the time, like many places, African American’s were banned as both customers and performers. When Fiorello La Guardia launched is campaign against burlesque, the theatre was shut down in 1933, but it was reopened as the 125th Street Apollo Theatre. In 1934, the theatre launched its famous Amateur Night which still occurs to this very day every Wednesday at 7:30pm.
When re-opening the theatre, the owners decided to change the focus to be on expanding the African-American community in Harlem. He changed the content to not be burlesque, but to be concerts, education and community outreach, and performing arts. It became about growing a culture and being inclusive. The Apollo is recognized for having launched the careers of beloved stars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Lauryn Hill, and many others.
Today, The Apollo hosts political events, concerts, teen events, and much more. However, their most notable and longest standing event remains their Amateur Night. If you find yourself not knowing what to do on a Wednesday evening, prices start at $21 and you might be lucky to witness the start of the career of the next Beyonce or Ella Fitzgerald or Sammy Davis Jr. Whatever event you choose to go to, you are sure to have an amazing time and feel completely immersed in a culture and in history. In fact, depending on the night’s theme, you might find yourself thrown back into the twenties, the forties, or even the eighties. Learn more about upcoming events on the Apollo Theatre website!