Apollo Theater

253 W. 125th Street,
New York, NY 10027

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Showing 1 - 25 of 69 comments

DavidZornig on April 25, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Here a vintage photo of the Apollo with a fade to the present day, via the What Was There website.


markp on November 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Ed, sometimes when you type in the name of another theatre, say Victory, Times Square , Lyric etc, and go to that page then it will list nearby theatres. The Apollo might be found that way. I know that’s how I’ve had to do to find certain theatres in New Jersey.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on November 11, 2013 at 3:14 pm

I wonder why, as a longtime member of this site, I can’t find any info whatsoever about the OTHER Apollo in Manhattan, the one that stood on 42nd Street, near the Times Square, Victory, and Lyric Theaters? Can anyone help me out? Sometimes this site is extremely hard to navigate, for even the seasoned user, and I know that one of the reasons is that some theaters operated under a variety of names, and there’s no cross-referencing here. I wanted to help out a friend who had a question regarding the Apollo on 42nd Street, but I can’t refer him here, since even I can’t find it!

LuisV on December 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I can’t believe that no one posted about the live “Dreamgirls” engagement that occurred at the Apollo back in late 2009! (Myself included) It was incredible to be in the Orchestra seats watching this phenomenal show that actually has, as its opening scene, an amateur night performance set in the world famous Apollo! Though this production didn’t hold a candle to the original Broadway version with Jennifer Holliday, it was very enjoyable nonetheless made that much more special because it WAS the Apollo A wonderful presentation for one of New York’s most historic theaters.

Tinseltoes on February 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

For a week beginning February 10th, 1939, the Apollo gave rare attention to a movie with the American premiere engagement of “Big Fella,” a British-made musical drama with two African-American stars, the incomparable Paul Robeson and actress-singer Elisabeth Welch. The Apollo’s stage show was equally prestigious, topped by Andy Kirk & His Orchestra, pianist Mary Lou Williams, singer Pha Terrell, and comedians Moke & Poke. As customary, the Apollo also presented a Jitterbug dance competition on the Monday night of that week, and “Amateur Night” on that Wednesday.

Tinseltoes on August 4, 2010 at 12:48 pm

This recent book includes many rare photos and is a must for anyone interested in the history of the Apollo Theatre: View link

spectrum on May 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm

The Apollo is immediately adjacent to the now-closed Victoria Theatre, and half a block west of the site of the noiw demolished Harlem Opera House. As you enter the lobby of the Apollo, the auditorium is off to the right. Likewise as you enter the lobby of the Victoria, the auditorium is off to the left. As a result, the back sides of the respective stage houses back up against each other.

It would be great if the Victoria were also restored and incorporated into the Apollo Theatre complex.

rrussell007 on March 31, 2010 at 1:26 pm

The Apollo Theater, world renoun, and a historic monument. As a musician performing at the Apollo (the first time around in the mid 1970’s) was a dream-come-true, fascinating experience. I recall walking in, admiring the decor, and feeling the echos of past performances by some of the greatest entertainers in the world. May the spirit of the Apollo Theater continue to shine, long live the Apollo.

Tinseltoes on February 28, 2010 at 10:52 am

The Smithsonian honors the Apollo: View link

AlAlvarez on February 27, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I found some indications that the Apollo ran movies from 1919-1922, 1934-1953 and 1970-1977, albeit between shows and sometimes matinees only. Does anyone know if they ran any in the fifties and sixties?

Tinseltoes on February 25, 2010 at 2:26 pm

The Apollo’s marquee and vertical sign can be seen in the left photo, which looks east towards Loew’s Victoria and the Harlem Opera House in the same block: View link

AlAlvarez on December 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm

According to the book series “HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN CINEMA” (The Talkies, 1926-1931), the Harlem Apollo was briefly converted into a miniature golf location during the depression, known then as TOM THUMB GOLF.

Bway on May 26, 2009 at 11:56 am

Well even though movies may have been a very unimportant part of it’s history, it’s nice that because of it’s short run with movies, it’s able to be listed on the site. So many “treasures” of theaters can’t be because of course this is CINEMA treasures, but there’s no website to preserve the history of non cinema theaters out there….

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 10, 2009 at 10:20 am

Here’s a great video explaining why movies are so unimportant to the history of the Apollo Theatre: View link

shoeshoe14 on March 1, 2009 at 1:05 am

Dang, beat me to it. Great pieces, though. They did postpone the lobby renovation, even though they raised just a bit more than half for the capital campaign.

LuisV on February 28, 2009 at 2:29 pm

As per the related article, There is an open house with tours today and tomorrow.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on February 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

Yesterday, The New York Times devoted more than two full pages of text and photos to the Apollo’s 75th anniversary celebration. Here’s a link to what I think was the best article. You will also find a link there to the other Apollo-related material published yesterday: View link

LuisV on February 6, 2009 at 8:21 am

Thanks LM……In the photo, on the right side is “Weisbecker Markets”. It looks like a marquee from a theater. Was this a theater that had already been closed and converted to retail by 1935?

AlAlvarez on January 29, 2009 at 2:32 pm

The Apollo shows up in Paramount Week ads as showing movies at least as early as 1919.

AlAlvarez on January 28, 2009 at 11:30 pm

According to the NYTimes, black patrons were admitted into the balcony area starting in 1934, concurrent with some black headliners and the amateur nights.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 28, 2009 at 4:22 pm

Some history books use a date of 1913. There sometimes can be a variance between building and opening dates. Construction could have started in 1913, with an opening in 1914. “The Movie Lover’s Guide to New York” says “The Apollo was built in 1913 as Hurtig & Seamon’s New Theater, which presented burlesque and vaudeville to a Harlem that was then predominantly white.” I would debate the website’s claim that “African-Americans were not allowed in the audience.” I believe that they were admitted, but had to sit in a separate section of the balcony.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on January 28, 2009 at 3:59 pm

The 75th birthday refers only to the 1934 launching of the Apollo’s stage show policy, not to the actual construction of the theatre, which was originally known as Hurtig & Seamon’s.

LuisV on January 28, 2009 at 3:45 pm

It’s rather poignant that the Apollo is celebrating 75 years with a grand restoration and (if you look closely at the photo) in the background is the marquee for the Victoria which is currently in limbo.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 11, 2008 at 11:18 am

After all those boring views of marquees and vertical signs, here’s a photo that really shows what it was like to attend a performance in the Apollo’s heyday. It was taken in 1944 during one of the always packed “Amateur Nights.” Note the clouds of tobacco smoke floating down from the balconies: View link