Showtime at the Apollo
By Ted Fox
Showtime at the Apollo is the definitive history of Harlem’s world-famous showplace. Home to nearly every great black star including: James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Richard Pryor, Gladys Knight, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Redd Foxx, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Sarah Vaughn and “Bojangles” Robinson, – the theater still hosts contemporary luminaries like The Roots, Mary J. Blige, Chris Rock, Wynton Marsalis and Whoopi Goldberg. Numerous performers relate their own poignant, exciting and sometimes hilarious stories. Some 150 photographs – many never before published – are interspersed throughout.
For African-Americans, the Apollo was the greatest black theater, and a special place to come of age. For whites – including Elvis Presley and the Beatles – the Apollo was as close as they could come to the reality of the black experience.
Still thriving, the Apollo has exerted an unprecedented influence upon popular culture. Since 1934, the Apollo has been at the forefront of African-American music, dance and comedy. It’s legendary Amateur Night spawned countless stars. Renowned for having the world’s toughest and most appreciative audience, it is the place where, as Dionne Warwick says in the book, “Everyone gave their best performance”.
“The essential book, mandatory for the most casual student as well as the most ardent fan.” – David Hinckley, Daily News
“Ted Fox made the Apollo come alive for me again.”– Jerry Wexler, co-founder of Atlantic Records
“Ted Fox mows through the 20th century’s mind blowing cavalcade of segregation byproduct, inhumanity producing creative transcendence. The survivors of the era provide Fox with a front-line document.” – Raoul Hernandez, Austin Chronicle
“A wonderful book.” – Tavis Smiley, National Public Radio
“I could almost feel and taste the Apollo again.” – Doc Pomus, classic songwriter
“The definitive history of Harlem’s (and black America’s) essential theater.” – New York Magazine
“Showtime at the Apollo is not only a history of that wonderful theatre, but also a fascinating insider’s view of the Harlem music scene.” – John Hammond, legendary producer and talent scout