*A new exhibit honoring Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater begins today and runs through May 1 at the Museum of the City of New York.
Titled “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” the exhibit displays images, videos and artifacts including instruments, shoes and costumes from music greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Sammy Davis Jr. and others who performed at the theater over the past 75 years, reports Reuters.
From swing to Motown to hip hop, the display details the 1500-seat music hall’s history of propelling styles of music and artists that have graced its stage from Nat King Cole in the 1940s to its famed Apollo Amateur Night, which helped the careers of Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and The Jackson 5.
“The first time I appeared at the Apollo was during Amateur Night — my gospel group during a gospel caravan show. And we won. And the next time was at the very beginning of my career in 1962,” Dionne Warwick told Reuters Television.
“The Apollo Theater is the creme de la creme. And as is said, and is so true, if you can make it at the Apollo, you can make it anywhere,” Warwick added.
The exhibit also explores Harlem’s history as a hub of U.S. black culture and the theater’s role in hosting memorial services for James Brown and a public tribute to Michael Jackson.
Letters from Martin Luther King and Frank Schiffman, the owner of the Apollo from 1935 until his death in 1974, are also among the items on display.