Calendar of Cool: the Apollo Theater Opens

Today is the 80th anniversary of the opening of the Apollo Theater on the January 26, 1934.

The most famous club for African-American performers and popular music in the U.S. is the Apollo Theater, a continuing legacy of the Harlem Renaissance.

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From the beginning, the Apollo offered amateur nights each evening, where many famous artists, such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, and James Brown, started their show business careers.

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Although its popularity declined in the 1960s and 70s, the Apollo experienced a revival when it obtained landmark status in 1983. Today the theater is run by a non-profit organization and draws an estimated 1.3 million visitors each year. It continues to promote new artists through its nationally syndicated variety show, Showtime at the Apollo.

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A theater that has nurtured African-American artists, and shone a spotlight on their contributions to American music and culture for 80 years? Incredibly cool!

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