HARLEM, NY – The Apollo Theater, one of the nation’s greatest cultural treasures, has announced plans for its 2010 Benefit Concert and Awards Ceremony, to be held at the historic Theater on Monday, June 14, 2010. The Gala celebration will bring together the best and brightest in business and entertainment to raise funds in support of the non-profit theater’s remarkable legacy and its current initiatives for emerging artists and community and educational programs in New York City and beyond. The evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a star-studded red carpet, followed by the Gala concert and awards ceremony at 7:00 p.m. and culminating with a grand tented after-party, the Apollo Supper Club.
Hosted by comedian and Oscar-award winning actor Jamie Foxx, the Benefit will feature the induction of two royal new honorees into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame: the undisputed King of Pop Michael Jackson, and the one and only Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. Mr. Jackson, who will be posthumously inducted, first performed at the Apollo in the late 1960s with his brothers and won Amateur Night, catapulting their career as the Jackson 5. Jackson went on to become perhaps the world’s biggest star, stretching boundaries in his artistry as a singer, dancer, songwriter, video artist, and the consummate entertainer. Michael Jacksonrevolutionized popular music and the impact of his music is to this day felt all over the world. Michael Jackson’s award will be accepted by his close friend, comedian and actor Chris Tucker on behalf of the Jackson family. Singer and minister Donnie McClurkin will be joined by a gospel choir in a tribute to Michael Jackson.
No one epitomizes the definition of an Apollo legend more than Ms. Aretha Franklin. Her name alone commands R-E-S-P-E-C-T. A giant of soul music and an institution of American culture, the Queen will be on hand as she is inducted in grand style into the Legends Hall of Fame. Ms. Franklin’s award will be presented by actor and director Danny Glover while singer-songwriters Sharon Jones and Estelle will honor Ms. Franklin with a special performance. Past inductees into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame include Quincy Jones, Patti Labelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard, and Ella Fitzgerald.
The awards ceremony will continue with the Ruby Dee & Ossie Davis Arts and Humanitarian Award presented to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. This award, named after the late Ossie Davis and his wife, Ruby Dee, is given annually to a couple who embody the powerful beliefs of this unique pair: a rarified command of their craft, a deep commitment to their community, and an unshakeable connection to each other and their family. Previous award recipients have included Bill and Camille Cosby; Pauletta and Denzel Washington; Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon; Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance; and Tonya Lewis Lee and Spike Lee. The Theater’s annual corporate award recognizing superior corporate leadership will be presented to JP Morgan Chase for its ongoing commitment to the Apollo and the Harlem community.
Finally, actress Angela Bassett will present a special tribute to the late singer and actress Lena Horne. Singer and actress Leslie Uggams will perform her rendition of Horne’s “Stormy Weather.”
Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater Foundation, said,” We are ecstatic to present our fifth Apollo Theater Spring Benefit, which will unite top business leaders, world-renowned entertainers and the Harlem community to celebrate the Apollo’s legacy and support our future. The artists we’re honoring this year are irrefutable proof of the Apollo’s continuing power as a transformative cultural force in America and around the world. Many people don’t realize that the Apollo is a non profit organization, and this Gala allows us to continue the Apollo’s mission of presenting and developing talent; providing a platform for the surrounding community and as an educational resource. This is about our history – it is about our future and it is what the Apollo does best.”
Richard Parsons, chairman of the Apollo’s board of directors said, “The Apollo Theater shares a unique relationship with everyone who walks through its doors—from the generations of stars whose careers were launched on our stage to our world-famous, international audience to the thousands in Harlem who are served by our programs. With the support of businesses combined with commitments from civic-minded individuals, this milestone event will go far in helping to guarantee the future of the Apollo and its programs.”
Produced by Ron Weisner of Ron Weisner Entertainment, the evening will feature star-studded performances to be announced at a later date. Ray Chew, whose credits include Musical Director for the Inaugural Neighborhood Ball television special (ABC-TV), NBC’s The Singing Bee, Showtime at the Apollo as well as the Apollo’s weekly Amateur Night show, serves as the show’s musical director.
The event will conclude with the Apollo Supper Club—a stylish lounge atmosphere created by David Monn and featuring spectacular gourmet creations prepared by Great Performances. The world renowned DJ D-Nice will provide music for late-night dancing.
The Apollo’s 2010 Spring Benefit is led by Honorary Co-Chairs Quincy Jones and Ronald O. Perelman and Benefit Committee Co-Chairs, Alicia Riley Bythewood and Yolanda Ferrell-Brown. The Benefit Committee consists of Tory Burch, Angela Bassett & Courtney B. Vance, Camille & Bill Cosby, Pamela Fiori, Tonya Lewis Lee & Spike Lee, Marcia Gay Harden, Patrick O’Connell, Smokey Robinson, Kyra Sedgwick & Kevin Bacon, Debra Shriver, Pauletta & Denzel Washington.
This year’s Benefit sponsors include lead sponsor JPMorgan Chase and sponsors Black Entertainment Television, Bloomberg, TV One, MacAndrews & Forbes, Belvedere, Hennessy and Moët & Chandon. Individual tickets for the 2010 Spring Benefit are $1,000 (tax deductible amount $850). To purchase tickets to the event or to make a donation to the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., call 212-531-5330, or visit www.apollotheater.org/events.htm.
This event is the Apollo’s largest annual fundraiser and all proceeds of the event will benefit the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, dedicated to preserving and developing the Apollo Theater and its initiatives for performing artists, educational programs, and community outreach efforts in New York City and beyond.
About the Apollo Theater
Currently celebrating its 75th anniversary, the Apollo Theater is one of Harlem’s, New York City’s, and America’s most iconic and enduring cultural institutions. The Apollo was one of the first theaters in New York, and the country, to fully integrate, welcoming traditionally African-American, Hispanic, and local immigrant populations in the audience, as well as headlining uniquely talented entertainers who found it difficult to gain entrance to other venues of similar size and resources. Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played a major role in cultivating artists and in the emergence of innovative musical genres including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis, Jr., James Brown, Michael Jackson, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and countless others began their road to stardom on the Apollo’s stage. Based on its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater received state and city landmark designation in 1983 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, visit www.apollotheater.org
Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc.
253 West 125th Street, New York, NY 10027