*There were as many stars roaming about on Ronald O. Perelman’s opulent 57-acre East Hampton estate on Georgia Pond as there were in the sky on Saturday, August 20, 2011 when The Apollo Theater trustee Perelman, chairman of the board, Revlon, Inc., and chief executive officer and chairman at MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, hosted his second annual dinner and private concert to benefit the non-profit Harlem landmark co-hosted by Apollo’s board chairman Richard “Dick” Parsons and super rocker Jon Bon Jovi.
Themed “Apollo in the Hamptons – A Night of Legends,” the stellar party featured spectacular special performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Alicia Keys, Jamie Foxx and legendary singers Ben E. King and Betty LaVette. No one blends old school with new school like Perelman. He’s a master blender!
As guests dined on mouth-watering soul food prepared by celebrated celebrity chef and Apollo trustee Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster fame, Perelman jumped on his mini-Apollo stage replete with incomparable sound and profusely thanked his guests for coming. The chief rocker told the crowd that the event raised over $1.2 million to support the Apollo’s performing arts, education and community programs.
“I want to build on the Theater’s rich history as a cultural and economic anchor in Harlem, and on the Apollo’s legacy as a nurturer of emerging talent,” stated Revlon’s top executive. “Last year we raised close to $1 million. This year we raised $1.2 million. Next year we will raise $2 million,” he exclaimed to the roar of the crowd!
Then, Perelman joined by Parsons kicked off the talent show by inviting mega artists Pharrell Williams and Jimmy Buffett on stage to sing “Happy Birthday” to Perelman’s father, Raymond, who was turning 94 years old on Sunday; followed by Showtime at The Creeks under the soulful musical direction of former Apollo Theater musical director Ray Chew and his R&B band.
The Apollo Theater is one of Harlem’s most distinguished and enduring cultural resource, and is committed to enhancing the life of its community through a variety of programs designed to engage children, adults, schools, families, artists, and community-based organizations.
The Apollo Theater Academy advances career and leadership skill development through free in-school seminars, internships, and other programs tailored to local high school and college students and early career professionals in fields related to the performing arts and entertainment industries.
Through its School Partnerships initiative, the Apollo has established relationships with New York City public schools through a variety of programs focused on The Apollo Theater and Harlem within the context of American history, arts, and culture.
Jonelle Procope, president and chief executive officer, The Apollo Theater Foundation, thanked Perelman for his awesome hospitality and for once again opening his home with proceeds benefiting the world renowned showplace. (Photos by Kevin Mazur)
About The Apollo Theater
The Apollo Theater is a national treasure that has had significant impact on the development of American culture and its popularity around the world. 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.
The Apollo Theater’s new artistic vision builds on its legacy. New Apollo programming has music as its core, driving large scale and more intimate music, dance and theater presentations. The Apollo Theater will continue to present historically relevant presentations, as well as more forward-looking, contemporary work.
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.
Audrey J. Bernard is an established chronicler of Black society and Urban happenings based in the New York City area.