Celebrating 85 Years of Black Excellence

About the Apollo Theater:

The legendary Apollo Theater—the soul of American culture—plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo’s programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo, 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella, the annual Africa Now! Festival, and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved. The Apollo is a performing arts presenting organization that also produces festivals and large-scale dance and music works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo’s legacy through a contemporary lens; with global festivals including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival and Breakin’ Convention, international and U.S.-based artist presentations focused on a specific theme; and other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres—including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly, Miri Ben Ari, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder; and the Apollo’s forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

Upcoming Events

Full Schedule of Events

Honoring the Legacy

Photos courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive Project

Over the past 85 years, the Apollo Theater has made its mark on the arts and entertainment world. Join us as we reflect on some of the amazing, timeless and legendary stars who have graced our stage.

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

Aretha Franklin

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

The Temptations

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

Gladys Knight and the Pips

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

James Brown

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

The Jackson 5

Courtesy of the Apollo Theater Archive

Tina Turner

Advancing the Path

The Apollo Theater Announces the Apollo Performing Arts Center to open Fall 2020

New York Times Feature

A look back at the rich history of artists and creative thinkers who have graced the legendary Apollo stage