Over the years, New York City’s Apollo Theater has become famous for offering a dazzling variety of entertainment options. But one event far outshines all the others as the venue’s most revered tradition: “Amateur Night.”
The Apollo’s “Amateur Night” program, which began in 1934 and has been on hiatus since a revival of the hit musical “Dreamgirls” opened at the Harlem venue last fall, re-launches tonight with a guest appearance by a man who knows how to kick a party into gear – hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh.
The evening, hosted by comedian Capone, starts at 7:30 p.m. EST and will continue every Wednesday night through October.
So what can Apollo fans expect from the revamped version of “Amateur Night”? Familiar elements like music director Ray Chew and his band The Crew and the Apollo’s famed “executioner” C.P. Lacey – who helps contestants deemed “unworthy” find their way off the stage – will join a host of new features.
Among the enhancements are the “Amateur Night Pre-Show Jam Fest,” featuring DJ Jess and a multimedia presentation that covers the illustrious history of the venue; “Now You Know,” an Apollo trivia segment; “Step Up to the Mic,” which will allow audience members to take a stab at getting discovered; “Beautiful Music,” a new theme song for the evening; guest artists scattered throughout the season; theme nights, including Broadway, New York City Teachers, Latin and Gospel; cash prizes that total more than $40,000 for the ultimate season winners and newly launched online tie-ins like official Apollo YouTube videos that will let fans follow the progress of their favorites.
Also new is an increased talent pool drawn from New York City auditions, as well as tryouts held in Atlanta and planned auditions in Washington, D.C.
But the best thing about the Apollo’s “Amateur Night” may be the price – tickets start at an amazingly low $17.
For more info on all things Apollo Theater, including “Amateur Night,” visit ApolloTheater.org.