The Apollo Theater recently announced the appointment of their newest CEO and President.
Officially announced on Tuesday, Michelle Ebanks will be the new leader of the Apollo Theatre, a performing arts center known for its impact and support of Black arts and culture. Previously, Ebanks served as the CEO of Essence Communications.
The announcement of Ebanks as the new leader coincides with the continuation of The Apollo’s current project of renovating the Historic Theater and opening the new Victoria Theaters.
“The Apollo continues to have such a profound impact on Black culture—and American culture—locally, nationally and internationally,” said Ebanks per a statement. “It is such an exciting time as it expands its physical footprint, doubles down on supporting artists at every stage in their careers, collaborates with partners across Harlem and the world, and offers a platform for the voices of African American artists across the diaspora.
With her new appointment, Ebanks will now be taking over from the former CEO and President, Jonelle Procope.
Serving as the CEO and President of The Apollo for 20 years, Procope’s achievements for the theater include building on its education and community program. She is also credited with helping The Apollo widen its financial support and has also helped lead the process to begin to restore as well as preserve the venue.
“For nearly nine decades, The Apollo has been a welcoming home for artists of color, a tireless advocate for Black culture and creativity, and a galvanizing force for the performing arts in New York and across the U.S,” said Procope per a statement. “It has been an honor to lead this organization through two decades of outstanding performances, transformative educational programs, and civic advocacy.”
Throughout the years, The Apollo has been a historic landmark for performances by legendary artists such as The Supremes, Ella Fitzgerald, Tina Turner, Sammy Davis Jr., B.B. King, Otis Redding and a variety of other musicians.
Designed by architect George Keister, The Apollo first opened up in 1914. Following a brief closure and a shift in ownership, The Apollo was renovated and redirected its attention to reflect Harlem’s Black American community. On Feb. 14 of the same year, Broadway star and Jazz Singer, Adelaide Hall, made her debut as the first big star to perform at The Apollo.
With the beginning of Amateur Night at The Apollo and after decades of legendary performances, the theater laid the foundation for the legendary “Showtime At The Apollo,” a 1987 televised series that featured both musical acts and comedians.