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Apollo Theater, Harlem

253 W. 125th Street
New York City , New York
Tel: 212 531 5300's insider take:

Built in 1914 as a burlesque theater, this Harlem landmark changed to its current status as a showcase for African-American talent in 1934, opening the stage on Amateur Night to anyone with the courage to face the notoriously tough audience. One of the first non-professionals to try her luck was a young singer named Ella Fitzgerald; others who have emerged via the same route over the years include James Brown and Lauryn Hill. Today, after a restoration that revitalized the theater's interior and facilities, established stars ranging from Prince to Tony Bennett regularly come to the theater for a performance. Amateur Night is still every Wednesday, and still a hoot.

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