February 2012 Culture Spot
by Joanna Weinstein, 02/01/2012
The Apollo Theater is one of music's major institutions. For more than 70 years, the historic Harlem performance hall, which first opened in 1914 as Hurtig and Seamon's New Burlesque Theater, has hosted pioneers of soul, jazz, rock and R&B—who later went on to become superstars—including Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and Luther Vandross. So what better way is there for NYC & Company to celebrate Black History Month than by choosing the Apollo as its February Culture Spot? All month long, enjoy $3 off admission to Amateur Night at the Apollo, $5 off Apollo Music Café shows and $3 off historic tours on Wednesday at 11am with the Culture Spot coupon. (And for more Black History Month events, see our roundup.)
February 1 marks the debut of the 78th season of Amateur Night, during which artists vie for supremacy and audience adulation. The first show features Jennifer Holliday, the Tony Award–winning actress and singer who played Effie in the original Broadway production of Dreamgirls and scored a Billboard-chart hit with the show's "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going"—the most-performed song in Amateur Night history. Amateur Night Digital, an online extension of the live show that allows viewers from around the globe to vote for their favorite performances, will also launch that day. The site's "Remix Round" feature will give performers who didn't make the final cut a second chance: videos will be posted on the site, and the most popular artist will get a second go at another installation of Amateur Night.
Amateur Night takes place every Wednesday at 7:30pm. And thanks to the leap year, there's one more night of talent this month. On February 29, all recent winners of Amateur Night will compete for the chance to move on to the Top Dog semifinals on May 16. The season's Top Dog winners go head to head on October 31, the Amateur Night 2012 finale, for the title of Super Top Dog and a $10,000 cash prize.
Theatergoers can enjoy even more performances at the Apollo Music Café. The music series, which takes place one Friday and Saturday each month in the theater's third-floor Soundstage, runs the gamut of genres: R&B, hip-hop, soul, jazz, pop, funk and rock. (Visit apollotheater.org for set-list updates.) Doors open at 9pm for food and drinks; the show begins at 10. This month, the shows take place on February 10 and 11. Those who are more inclined to explore the history of the theater—during the day, that is—are encouraged to take the hour-long tour of the venue.
The savings on admission for Amateur Night, Apollo Music Café and historic tours at the Apollo Theater is valid February 1–29, 2012. To take advantage of this limited-time offer, present the discount coupon at the theater box office. Download the discount coupon via the link above; the coupon will also be available during the month of February at the Official NYC Information Centers in Midtown, Harlem and the Times Square Alliance and at the Official NYC Information Kiosks in Chinatown and at City Hall. The savings is subject to availability and may not be combined with any other offer, discount or promotion. There is a limit of one savings option per coupon. Other restrictions may apply.
Learn more about the Apollo Theater. Annie Bergen, culture correspondent for nycgo.com, discusses the institution's traditions and secrets with historian (and "Apollo Ambassador") Billy Mitchell. Listen to the podcast, below, or download the MP3 here (by right-clicking the link and selecting "Save Link As...").