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Apollo Theater to Transform into Nightclub for Music and Dance Revue

By Jeff Mays | November 14, 2012 4:59pm

HARLEM — The Apollo Theater already has an intimate, soulful lounge series and regularly hosts raucous amateur night performances where participants risk getting booed off the stage.

Now the theater plans to transform itself into a nightclub similar to the ones that populated Harlem's landscape during the 1930's for a multi-act revue reminiscent of those staged at the Apollo when the theater first opened.

To pull off Apollo Club Harlem in February, all of the orchestra seats will be removed and the audience will sit in a club-style setting with table service and drinks, allowing for interaction with the performers and dancing.

“This will be a fast-paced show, and because it will be set like a nightclub, the audience will be right in the center of all the action and will be swept up in the thrill of it all," said Maurice Hines, who will direct and choreograph the show.

Hines began his dance career on the Apollo stage with his late brother Gregory Hines at the age of 7.

The show will invoke Apollo legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughn and Machito but also look forward. Participating in the 90 minute revue will be Grammy Award winning jazz singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, jazz singer Cecile Salvant, street dancer Storyboard P and tap dancer Dormeshia.

Hines says he hopes the show will help audiences "reimagine the Theater’s grand history."

Apollo Executive Producer Mikki Shepard, who devised the project, said the show will invoke the Apollo's "glorious jazz history" while incorporating performances from present day "cutting edge performers.”