HARLEM, NY – The Apollo Theater has announced that it will induct Stevie Wonder into its Apollo Legends Hall of Fame at its annual Spring Gala on Monday, June 13, 2011. The Gala Benefit Concert and Awards Ceremony brings 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.
Stevie Wonder joins past inductees into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame legendary musicians, artists, and entertainers whose path to fame included the Apollo, including Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Quincy Jones, Patti Labelle, Smokey Robinson, James Brown, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Little Richard, and Ella Fitzgerald. Each Apollo Legends Hall of Fame Inductee is honored with a plaque installed in the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater’s iconic marquee.
Celebrated American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer and activist Stevie Wonder has had a long association with the Apollo Theater, appearing for the first time in 1962 when he was 12 years old. At that time, he was called “Little Stevie Wonder,” and was already touring as a professional act (and was the only “child act”) as part of Berry Gordy’s “Motown Revue,” a road show featuring top acts from the Motown Label. Stevie played a major role in the show since he could sing, play harmonica, organ, congas and drums, which led to him being called a “wonder child.” Other notable Apollo appearances include the “Save the Apollo Concert” in the 1980s and sold out solo concerts in 2005.
Apollo Theater president and CEO Jonelle Procope said,” Stevie Wonder is a true Apollo Legend and an American classic, and we look forward to welcoming him home in June and presenting him with the Apollo’s highest honor. Stevie is irrefutable proof of the Apollo’s continuing power as a transformative cultural force in America and around the world.”
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
The Apollo Theater is one of Harlem’s, New York City’s, and America’s most iconic and enduring cultural institutions. 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.