Since the first Amateur Night contests took place in 1934, the Apollo Theater has played the most important part in the emergence and development 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, Bill Cosby, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill, and others began their star career on the Apollo's stage.
Due to its cultural significance and architecture, the Apollo Theater got state and city landmark designation in 1983 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
On the base of the Apollo Theater Foundation a not-for-profit corporation was established in 1991 and was meant for the preservation and development of the Apollo Theater.
The theater was the background for major concerts and special events and keeps the tradition of discovering future stars during its weekly Apollo Amateur Night every Wednesday night. The television show based on the original Apollo Amateur Night, began airing in syndication and now runs weekly on NBC affiliates in 119 markets of the USA. A great influence of the Apollo Theater on the entertainment world industry cannot be overestimated. Entertainers from Elvis Presley, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to the modern bands of Korn and The Strokes, have all been inspired by the legends who have emerged from the Apollo Theater.
The Apollo Theater is located in the heart of Harlem at 253 West 125 Street, between Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (7th Ave.) and Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave.), Harlem New York City. Harlem is Manhattan's third most popular tourist point and the Apollo stays Harlem's top attraction, which hosts 1.3 million visitors annually.