Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and more celebrate 80 years of the Apollo Theatre


The Apollo Theater, a leading not-for-profit performing arts institution, announced that its 2014 annual Spring Gala will be transformed into an epic birthday celebration in honor of the storied Theater’s 80th anniversary, Tuesday, June 10, at 7pm. Departing from its tradition of inducting legends into the Apollo Hall of Fame, this year’s Gala will celebrate the eight decades of artistic brilliance that has been presented on the Apollo stage since 1934. The evening will include special tribute performances by the music industry’s biggest artists, some of whom call the Apollo their musical home, including Gladys KnightSmokey Robinson, Natalie Cole, The Isley Brothers, and more. Hosted by Emmy Award-winning and Grammy nominated entertainer Wayne Brady.

“Over the last 80 years, the Apollo Theater has been a constant in changing the face of popular music and culture here in Harlem and across the world. Some of the world’s most legendary artists have not only graced this stage, but were nurtured and developed at the Apollo in the beginning of their careers,” stated Jonelle Procope, president & CEO of The Apollo Theater. “Instead of honoring one or a few Legends, this year’s gala will pay homage to and spotlight the eight decades of music at the Apollo that changed entertainment forever.   ”

Additionally, the Apollo will present Richard D. Parsons with the Leadership Award in honor of his many years of leadership and service to the Apollo. Parsons has served as Chairman of the Board for the Apollo Theater Foundation, Inc., since 2001 during which he has played an integral role in the revitalization of the Theater. This one of a kind award will be presented by Ronald O. Perelman.

Each year at the Spring Gala, the Apollo also recognizes a corporation for its outstanding philanthropy and community leadership. This year’s recipient of the Corporate Award is BNY Mellon. Chairman & CEO Gerald L. Hassell will accept on behalf of  BNY Mellon.

“The Apollo Theater is both a historic landmark and a cultural icon, with an extraordinary legacy of launching and advancing the careers of African-American artists and making their contributions accessible to broader audiences in New York and around the world,” said Gerald L. Hassell, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, BNY Mellon. “As a company that grasps the power of diversity to make institutions stronger and neighborhoods richer, we salute the Apollo for its incomparable contributions to New York’s cultural tapestry.”

Proceeds from the 80th anniversary bash will support the Apollo’s year-round performing arts programming, innovative education initiatives, and community programs.

2014 Apollo Spring Gala co-chairs includeAnna Chapman and Ronald O. Perelman, John D. Demsey, Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Marcella A. and Terry L. Jones, Sonia and Paul Jones, Debra L. Lee, Marcus Samuelsson, Debra Shriver, and Bronson van Wyck.

Gala Vice Chairs include: Valentino D. Carlotti, Con Edison, Disney, James L. Dolan,

Fairview Capital Partners, Agnes Gund, Leonard Lauder, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, John K. Martin, Jr., NBCUniversal, Ehab Al Shihabi, Katherine Farley & Jerry Speyer, Christine Taylor, Time Warner Cable, Time Warner Inc., Darren Walker, and Sara Wechter.

The evening includes the gala concert and awards ceremony, produced by Ron Weisner for

Ron Weisner Entertainment, and a post-performance party featuring a stylish lounge created by celebrity event planner and Apollo board member Bronson van Wyck.

Tickets for the 2014 Spring Gala are now on sale. To purchase Gala tickets or to make a donation to the Apollo Theater, call 212-531-5347. For more information, visit .