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Apollo Theater description and photos - USA: New York

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Apollo Theater description and photos - USA: New York

Apollo Theater description and photos - USA: New York. Detailed information about the attraction. Description, photographs and a map showing the nearest significant objects. The title in English is Apollo Theater.

Photo and description

The Apollo Theater is a 1,500-seat concert hall and club associated almost exclusively with African American performers. It is located in Harlem, one of the most historically significant "black" areas in the United States.

The building designed by architect John Keister was built in 1914 for the New Burlesque Theater. Ironically, the establishment had a strict white-only policy. Burlesque (a musical comedy show) was already out of fashion in the Old World, but it flourished in America - mainly because it slipped into a frank striptease. Fiorello La Guardia, who became mayor of New York in 1934, launched a campaign against burlesque, and Apollo, along with other similar theaters, was threatened with closure. The owners changed the show format on time to various revues and reoriented to viewers from the growing Harlem community (by this time the first stage of the so-called Great Migration of Black Southerners to the north and west of the country had just ended).

One of the new products that replaced burlesque, in "Apollo" became "amateur nights". In fact, it was a talent competition: once a week, young unknown performers took the stage, and after the first number it depended on the reaction of the audience whether they would continue to perform or not. So in 1934, an aspiring dancer Ella Fitzgerald came to the "amateur night". She was 17, she was a difficult teenager and got into Apollo by accident. A dance duet of the Edwards sisters performed in front of her, and Ella was frightened: she realized that the sisters could not be outdone. And then she decided to sing, imitating her idol, Connie Boswell. The first few notes taken by Ella were a failure, the audience laughed, but the host Ralph Cooper took pity on the girl and helped her start again. The second attempt was successful. This is how the career of the "queen of jazz" began.

Not only Ella Fitzgerald began on the Apollo stage - Billie Holiday, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson (as part of a family group), James Brown, Lauryn Hill, Jimi performed here Hendrix.

Nowadays, many celebrities perform at Apollo, but "amateur" nights are not forgotten: every Wednesday novice performers take the stage. For good luck they touch the "tree of hope" - a huge piece of trunk displayed in a conspicuous place. The tree once grew between Apollo and Lafayette Theater, and superstitious actors stood under its branches so as not to frighten off luck. When the tree was cut down, part of the trunk went to Apollo.

However, the luck of newbies depends not only on the tree. As before, the fate of the performers here is decided by the audience: they either shout approvingly or put their thumbs down - and then a special person, the "executioner," sweeps the losers off the stage with a huge broom. The same broom that Ella Fitzgerald was nearly swept away with.

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Topic: Apollo Theater description and photos - USA: New York.Apollo Theater description and photos - USA: New York

Author: Kelly Costine