- Title: USA: The Apollo Theater in New York celebrates its 75th birthday
- Date: 28th January 2009
- Summary: APOLLO FOUNDATION CEO AND PRESIDENT JONELLE PROCOPE, ON STAGE (SOUNDBITE) (English) JONELLE PROCOPE, APOLLO FOUNDATION, SAYING: "In 1934, African American performers really couldn't perform anywhere and so the Theater, the Apollo Theater was really the first place African American performers could show what they had. So that is one of the reasons pretty much every legend you can think about that vintage of performer was on this stage. So it got the reputation for having the very best"
- Reuters ID: LVA3VW0MG2D1AMLX9ZMKK45FZN2Y
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:40
- Topics: Entertainment
- Story Text: The Apollo Theater is 75 years old and celebrates its birthday in its hometown of Harlem.
The Apollo Theater in Harlem celebrated its 75th birthday on Tuesday (January 27). Hailed as the 'epicenter of black culture', the Apollo has helped launch the careers of countless artists including singer Dionne Warwick, James Brown, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder.
Apollo Foundation chief executive officer and president Jonelle Procope said the Apollo had been a driving force in shaping America's music and cultural landscape, and was one of the first theaters to open its doors to integrated audiences and African American artists.
"In 1934, African American performers really couldn't perform anywhere and so the Theater, the Apollo Theater was really the first place African American performers could show what they had. So that is one of the reasons pretty much every legend you can think about that vintage of performer was on this stage. So it got the reputation for having the very best,"
Located in Harlem, New York City, the theater has been credited for launching the careers of countless numbers of legendary performers including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Alicia Keys.
Helping mark the celebrations was the Brooklyn "Steppers"
Band, which recently performed for President Barack Obama at the Inaugural Parade in Washington D.C.
R&B singer Chuck Johnson, who is said to have been discovered at the Apollo, told the audience he was honored to be considered as one of the theater's legends.
"I am so happy that I am one of the legends that they're speaking about and I'm so happy this is the 75th anniversary. I was here when the Schiffmans had it, and actually I can say that I've been playing the Apollo, don't take it personally, fifty years."
Having established herself as an international music legend after a four-decade long career, singer Dionne Warwick credited her success to the Apollo. "I feel that without the Apollo, Dionne Warwick would not be.
This is my beginning, this is my home, it always will be," Warwick said.
When asked about her fondest memory of the Apollo, the singer replied, "winning Amateur Night, the first time I ever performed here.I'll never forget that."
The Apollo's 75th anniversary season will be celebrated in Harlem and across the country with a series of special performances including a special edition of the Apollo's signature 'Amateur Night', and the national launch of 'Dreamgirls', the story about a trio of singers from Chicago, 'The Dreamettes'.
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