HARLEM — It's presidential showtime at the Apollo.
The legendary Harlem theater is hosting a debate-viewing party and panel Tuesday as President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney square off in a crucial second debate at Long Island's Hofstra University.
Apollo organizers see the free viewing event and discussion as "a platform for us to more regularly engage the community in conversations that matter,” according to a statement published in Harlem World.
Panelists, including WBAI-FM's Esther Armah, New York Amsterdam News' Herb Boyd, The American Conservative's Michael Brendan Dougherty, WWRL 1600 AM's Mark Riley, The American Spectator's William Tucker and Sirius XM's The Power's Armstrong Williams, will kick off the evening at 7:30 p.m. with a discussion of the current political climate.
Christina Greer, who teaches political science at Fordham University, will moderate the conversation, according to Harlem World.
Apollo officials said the event is in keeping with the theater's rich history of political activism and community involvement.
"Since its inception, the Apollo Theater has served as a 'town hall' for local community residents as well as people from all across New York City,’" Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater, said in a statement.
The town-hall style presidential debate on Long Island is set to start at 9 p.m., and last 90 minutes.
After the debate, Black Enterprise Business Report's Shannon LaNier will lead a question-and-answer session, giving the audience a chance to weigh in on the candidates. Charisa, the Violin Diva, is also scheduled to play.
The Apollo Uptown Hall series started in September 2012 with "Vote Like Your Life Depends On It."
That event, which was a partnership with BET, boasted a panel that included the Rev. Al Sharpton and political analyst Keli Goff and focused on issues such as Supreme Court nominations, health care and voter suppression.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Apollo, at 253 W. 125th St. To attend the free event, register on the Apollo theater's website.