Apollo Theater Restoration Announced
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc. Chairman Dick Parsons and its President & CEO Jonelle Procope recently celebrated the completion of the first phase of renovations to the historic Apollo Theater on West 125th Street in Harlem. The entire restoration project is estimated at approximately $65 million and will be completed in mid-2009. Local elected officials and community leaders joined the Mayor for the ceremonial lighting of the new marquee to mark the occasion.
Built in 1914, the Apollo Theater has been an integral part of Harlem’s cultural history since the 1930’s when its stage shows featured performers such as Buck & Bubbles, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters and Duke Ellington. The Apollo’s Wednesday night “Amateur Nights” launched the careers of greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and James Brown. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, its stage was graced by Nat “King” Cole, Charlie Parker, Sidney Portier, Ossie Davis, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross. In 1975, the Apollo became a movie theater, and then in l983, it reopened as a performance venue under a firm led by former Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton. Historically, performers have considered the Apollo’s sophisticated audiences the most challenging in the country.