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Apollo Theater - Let's Stay In This Together

by Rich and Laura Lynch

The Apollo Theater was originally called Hurtig & Seamon's New Burlesque Theater. It was designed by George Keister in the neo-Classical style. It was renamed the Apollo Theater in 1934, when it was opened to black patrons - previously it had been a whites-only venue. In 1983, both the interior and exterior of the Apollo were designated as New York City Landmarks and the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It is estimated that 1.3 million people visit the Apollo every year.

Apollo Theater - Let's Stay In This Together
Keb Mo, Michael McDonald and Robert Randolph were featured performers.

Besides being a location of significance the Apollo Theater has a rich musical history. It played a prominent role in the emergence of bebop, blues, gospel, jazz, soul and swing. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., James Brown, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill and countless others got their start on the Apollo stage. It is one of the most well-known venues in the world.

In addition, the Apollo is a respected non-profit, which hosts concerts and community outreach programs. It is also a major employer in its Harlem, New York neighborhood and local businesses benefit from all the music lovers and tourists who come to the visit this hallowed hall. The Apollo Theater Education Programs extends the Apollo's commitment to enhancing the community with their Education Program that focuses on career development, history, instruction, workshops and more. They also have a global vision as they enhance the Apollo's digital media presence which in 2020 has become much more important

Let's Stay In This Together was a special Internet event that premiered on June 06, 2020. The multimedia program was a fundraiser for the Apollo. In addition to raising money for the Apollo's artistic and educational programs that serve more than 200,000 people annually, a portion of the funds will go towards a micro-grant initiative for local small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apollo Theater - Let's Stay In This Together
Gary Clark Jr., Vernon Reid and Warren Haynes were featured performers.

It was a night of music to "lift our spirits, shapes our lives, and continue to unite us all". Special appearances included Dionne Warwick, Gary Clark Jr., Doug E. Fresh, Ledisi & Robert Glasper, Kool & the Gang, "Captain" Kirk Douglas of The Roots, Michael McDonald, Robert Randolph, Lil Buck and Jon Boogz, Infinity's Song, Ray Chew, Warren Haynes, Celisse Henderson, Roy Wood Jr., Keb Mo, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, DJ Reborn, Ziggy Marley, Vernon Reid and more.

The program kicked off with the Motown hit "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone" that featured an array of artists brought together by technology and split screens. Later Kool and the Gang were showcased using similar techniques. Other highlights included "Redemption Song", "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" and Keb Mo's tribute to BB King.

Art, DJ-ing and poetry were featured along with clips about the Apollo. There were full band videos that must have been recorded prior to social distancing. Some artists shared their memories of attending and or performing at the Apollo while emphasizing the important history of this venue that spans generations. The show also highlighted the theater's 86-year contribution to arts and culture with a varied and vivid list of guests performing the music of Apollo legends. It was an educational, uplifting event and if you are able please support the Apollo Theater.

Related Links: For more information on the APOLLO THEATER and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Apollo Theater | Let's Stay In This Together

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