Nightlife Listings

Apollo Theater

253 W. 125th St.

Inside Scoop: Apollo Theater

New York's legendary Apollo Theater opened its doors in Harlem in 1934, inside an ornate theater that dates to 1914. Over the years the Apollo has earned a reputation for world-class live performances, in addition to educational programs that honor and advance the contributions of African-American artists. The theater has served as a launching pad for some of the most significant entertainers of the last several decades.

In 1983 both the interior and exterior of the Apollo’s building were designated New York City Landmarks and the building was added to the National Register of Historical Places. It is estimated that 1.3 million people visit the Apollo every year.

Today the Apollo has a complete calendar which includes tours of the historic backstage seven days a week, plus music that runs from Afro Pop to Latin Jazz to R&B. It also hosts The Original Apollo Amateur Night, which is held every Wednesday night in season. Aspiring musicians, singers, rappers, dancers, comedians, and spoken word artists take a crack at winning over audiences with a chance to become an Apollo legend. Succeed or fail, the results are always entertaining, with a resident Executioner stand by to sweep off talent that doesn't measure up. After all, at the Apollo, it’s “be good or be gone.”

Apollo Theater Photos

apollo theater live

Image: Steven Pisano/Flickr

apollo theater sign amateur

Image: Alejandra Palés /Flickr

Another house tradition is a resident Executioner, waiting to sweep off second-rate talent should the boos win out. After all, at the Apollo, it’s “be good or be gone.” - See more at:

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