Apollo Theater

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

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Apollo Theater

Probably one of the most famous theaters in New York. Originally opened on December 15, 1913 as a burlesque theatre. By 1930 it had gone over to screening movies as the 125th Street Apollo Theater.

It underwent a refurbishment and redecoration re-opening as the 125th Street Apollo Theatre on 26th January 1934 with a full stage show “Jazz a la Carte” and a British feature film starring Emlyn Williams “The Frightened Lady” (US title-“Criminal at Large”). Gradually stage shows became a more important part of the programme than the movies.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 54 comments)

rrussell007 on March 31, 2010 at 6:26 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.

spectrum on May 28, 2010 at 5:04 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.

LuisV on December 7, 2011 at 12:18 am

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.

Ed Miller
Ed Miller on November 11, 2013 at 8:14 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!

markp on November 11, 2013 at 8:27 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.

DavidZornig on April 25, 2014 at 7:28 pm

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


RedDawg on September 6, 2015 at 4:47 am

According to this link (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states/new-york/new-york?q=apollo&status=all), there have been no fewer than 3 “Apollo” Theatres in NYC. The “famous” one in Harlem (125th Street) is the only one extant. There was one on 42nd Street (Times Square) and the one I spoke of earlier in these comments, on Clinton Street, west of Williamsburg Bridge, both now demolished.

Comfortably Cool
Comfortably Cool on November 15, 2019 at 6:30 pm

A new feature documentary on the history and significance of the Apollo Theatre can currently be viewed on HBO. Trailer here

DavidZornig on January 18, 2020 at 4:29 am

Upcoming screening of “Shaft” with a live soundtrack accompaniment.


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