Your Night at the Apollo Theater

Are you tired of cheesy team building events? You know, the ones with trust falls, obstacle courses, or off-key karaoke?  Well, Private Amateur Night at the Apollo is nothing like that.

By Deanna Ting




Take over Harlem's World Famous Apollo Theater for your own, talent-packed “Your Night" at the Apollo, featuring your company’s best and brightest live onstage. Riffing on one of the world’s most popular live entertainment experiences, Amateur Night, the Apollo will produce a live show and afterparty, exclusively for you.

Your corporate event is an important time to boost morale and get your employees, business associates, partners, and stakeholders jazzed about your mission and where your company is headed.

Let’s do it together. We will work with you to make sure "Your Night" at the Apollo is a dazzler. The planning will be fun. The execution will be flawless. The results, fabulous!



And now, for the first time, your employees can be the stars when you host your very own Private Amateur Night at the Apollo for your corporate event. At this Amateur Night, your employees are on the bill, and in the audience. Discover talent within your very own company, let them shine, and create an unforgettable bonding experience for your entire team.

Wondering how it works? The beauty of Private Amateur Night is that it’s fully customizable for your group. Working with the talented staff at the Apollo, you’ll make Amateur Night all your own, from the audition process and musical selections to show time. Your group will have your very own stage manager, and each and every star in your lineup will receive the same warm welcome that legends like Billie Holliday, Luther Vandross, and Stevie Wonder have received.

More than a talent competition, Private Amateur Night is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for you to motivate, engage, and entertain your employees as only a night at the theater can.

“Experiential recognition events are all the rage right now, and the Private Amateur Night at the Apollo creates a personalized experience with your very own talent,” say Roy Saunderson, chief learning officer of Rideau Recognition Management Institute . “Group events and ones that are unique leave a lasting memory for the company that will be talked about for years to come. This is your own American Idol that will never be forgotten.”

The entire process—from the auditions to the rehearsals and the night itself—provides multiple opportunities for engagement and motivation. “It creates a grand build-up of expectation for a unique event by working with your company anywhere from three to eight months prior, scouting out your hidden talent,” Saunderson notes. “Then, the energy comes alive one month prior to your New York show, with the lining up of auditions to rehearsals to make sure you have an outstanding event.”

The magic of live performance also adds to the emotional impact of an event like Private Amateur Night at the Apollo. “Theater and therefore, storytelling, are cultural reference points,” explains Jeff Whitehead, a teambuilding expert, professional facilitator, and president of Front Royal, Va.-based Ascend Development Group. “It helps us to see ourselves and the waters we live in.”

For the corporate teambuilding programs that Whitehead designs and facilitates for groups, he often includes theatrical elements and storytelling. “Amateur Night at the Apollo, in some senses, is the highest example of that,” he says. “It's not just the stories or acts we see on the stage; it's the memories and stories carried forward afterward which become part of the cultural tapestry of an organization.”

The act of performing in front of a live audience requires “courage, vulnerability, and empathy from and toward both performer and audience,” he adds. “This creates a bond, and the result of the event adds to a common story about who we are and what we do. Vulnerability and empathy are very important elements of emotional intelligence. It's well documented that the higher the emotional intelligence practiced by individuals in and by organizations themselves, the higher the likelihood an organization is a healthy and fulfilling place to work.”

Saunderson adds that a group event like this allows “those who want to perform stand out, and creates bonds with those who just want to be the audience.”

Bringing employees out of the office and into a venue where they have artistic license isn’t just freeing on a creative level—it opens them up to bonding with one another. “It allows topics and issues that may be hidden or avoided to come to light through comedy, music, or verse thus exposing these issues to light,” says Whitehead. “It’s a bit like the catharsis that accompanies viewing a scary movie. It adds to the legacy of experience amongst the members of an organization.”

The options for customizing Private Amateur Night are endless. Leverage the Apollo’s incredible connections to enlist A-list talent to perform during your event. Work with some of New York City’s top caterers to create a sustainably sourced, truly memorable event. Transform the theater into a supper club, or keep it traditional with theater-style seating. Work with the Apollo to cast “sand acts” that allow your employees to get into the spirit of Amateur Night with the power of the “boo.” Open up auditions and acts to your employees’ family and friends. Work with the Apollo to determine an array of prizes and perks.

The Apollo Theater is no stranger to working with private groups. Here’s what other corporate event organizers have said about their own nights at the Apollo:

“Name recognition is great. It was a treat to be in the Apollo and be able to say we brought a program there.”

“[Other spaces don’t] have the energy and reputation as the Apollo does and, therefore, are not as fun and exciting.”

So, what are you waiting for? Your stage awaits.



"Thank you for making the event such a success!"
- Michelle Obama |  The White House

"The Apollo is the birthplace of dreams.  There was no better place for our dream project.  We formed a choir with people suffering with severe breathing problems. They defied the odds to put on a remarkable performance.  The Apollo Theatre was the perfect place to showcase their talents; and celebrate their triumph.  Our recent private event was a night that lived long in the memory: a legendary night from a legendary theatre."

- Eva Barrett  |  Phillips