The Apollo Theater to Screen SHAFT with Live Score

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The Apollo Theater to Screen SHAFT with Live Score

The Apollo Theater announced today that it will screen the iconic MGM film Shaft (1971), as part of the Apollo Film series, on Saturday February 29th at 8:00 p.m. The screening will be accompanied by a live performance of Isaac Hayes' Academy Award® nominated score by Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, a sprawling band of musicians led by founder and cultural critic Greg Tate.

In the spirit of Shaft, the audience will be encouraged to wear urban-inspired fashion, building on the 70's Harlem style that continues to influence today's fashion.

Director Gordon Parks' 1971 release of Shaft marked a milestone in Hollywood with a Black American director at the film's helm, and the main character acting as a heroic Black detective taking on the mob and corrupt police force. "Hotter than Bond. Cooler than Bullitt," movie posters proclaimed. John Shaft was indeed a shut-your-mouth detective to reckon with, a fact emphasized from the film's start by Isaac Hayes' Academy Award®-winning Best Original Song and Oscar®-nominated score.

"Gordon Park's Shaft sparked a shift in the way mainstream America viewed African Americans in film. For the first time ever, we were the heroes fighting for and maintaining justice for people that looked just like us," said Kamilah Forbes, Apollo Theater's Executive Producer.

Greg Tate added, "the body of erotic and exhilarating music Hayes composed for the film brought the genre-exploding innovations of early 70's R&B to the big screen with a blues-saturated intensity that embraced psychedelic soul, Ellingtonian sophistication, and the polyrhythmic élan of Afro-Cuban jazz. The Burnt Sugar live scoring of Shaft will be faithful to the funk and sensuality of Hayes score while teasing out the experimental potential of its seductive, frothy themes."

Tickets begin at $29 and are available at the Apollo Theater Box Office: (212) 531-5305, 253 West 125th Street, and Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000,

Shaft with Live Score by Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber (Apollo Theater):

Conductor - Greg Tate

Vocals - Shelley Nicole ~ Abby Dobson ~ Julie Brown ~ Mikel Banks ~ Bruce Mack

Horns - Lewis 'Flip' Barnes Trumpet ~ V. Jeffrey Smith Alto & Tenor Saxes ~ 'Moist' Paula Henderson Bari Sax ~ J.S. Williams Trombone

Strings - Curtis Stewart Violin ~ Bobbie Lee Crow III Cello

Rhythm Section - Bruce Mack Synthesizer - Leon Gruenbaum Piano, Synthesizer & Samchillian ~ Ben Tyree Electric Guitar ~ André Lassalle Electric Guitar ~ Jason DiMatteo Acoustic Bass ~ Shawn Banks Congas & Percussion ~ LaFrae Sci Trap Drums ~ Jared Michael Nickerson Electric Bass

The Apollo Theater will offer Harlem residents, employees and business owners an opportunity to experience Shaft with live score by Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber, and save 50% on show tickets. To take advantage of this discounted special offer, Harlem residents, employees or business owners must present a proof of residence or work I.D. when purchasing tickets to the production at the Apollo Theater Box Office. Restrictions may apply.

Richard Roundtree plays the smart, tough, confident lead, a private investigator whose hunt for a kidnapped woman puts him in the middle of feuding syndicates. Gordan Parks directs from a screenplay that Ernest Tidyman (that same year's Oscar®-winner for The French Connection) co-scripted from his own novel. John Shaft is an icon of change from an era of change. Today, Shaft still tells it like it is.

Founded by Village Voice icon Greg Tate and co-led with Dayton Ohio monster bassist Jared Michael Nickerson since 1999, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber is a sprawling band of musicians whose prodigious personnel allows them to freely juggle a wide swath of the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop spectrum.

Burnt Sugar was originally conceived as a forum for the New York area improvisational musician to compose, record and perform material which reflects the breadth and depth of American diasparan music in the 21st century. The intent of the Arkestra Chamber, through the deployment of Butch Morris's conduction system, is to make every performance a fresh interpretation of its constituent parts.

The legendary Apollo Theater-the soul of American culture-plays a vital role in cultivating emerging artists and launching legends. Since its founding, the Apollo has served as a center of innovation and a creative catalyst for Harlem, the city of New York, and the world.

With music at its core, the Apollo's programming extends to dance, theater, spoken word, and more. This includes the world premiere of the theatrical adaptation of Ta-Nehisi Coates's Between the World and Me and the New York premiere of the opera We Shall Not Be Moved; special programs such as the blockbuster concert Bruno Mars Live at the Apollo; 100: The Apollo Celebrates Ella; and the annual Africa Now! Festival. The non-profit Apollo Theater is a performing arts presenter, commissioner, and collaborator that also produces festivals, large-scale dance and musical works organized around a set of core initiatives that celebrate and extend the Apollo's legacy through a contemporary lens, including the Women of the World (WOW) Festival as well as other multidisciplinary collaborations with partner organizations.

Since introducing the first Amateur Night contests in 1934, the Apollo Theater has served as a testing ground for new artists working across a variety of art forms and has ushered in the emergence of many new musical genres-including jazz, swing, bebop, R&B, gospel, blues, soul, and hip-hop. Among the countless legendary performers who launched their careers at the Apollo are Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, H.E.R., D'Angelo, Lauryn Hill, Machine Gun Kelly and Miri Ben Ari; and the Apollo's forward-looking artistic vision continues to build on this legacy.

In fall 2020, the Apollo Theater will mark its first ever physical expansion with the theaters at the Victoria, part of the vision for a future Apollo Performing Arts Center. The theaters at the Victoria will support the growth of the Apollo's artistic programming as it continues to provide a home to artists of color, create an expanded 21st century American performing arts canon, and provide additional educational and community programming in Harlem and beyond. For more information about the Apollo, visit

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