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Blue will play the Apollo instead of Broadway

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uncageg
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Guess I will be going up to Harlem to see it. Nona Hendryx composed the music and I am a big fan. There is a cast recording but I can't find it on any of my services. It is available on CD on Amazon though.

Just give the world Love.
Updated On: 1/22/20 at 11:11 AM
SouthernCakes
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Such a long run! Was looking for an excuse to go to the Apollo as I’ve never been! (Almost got tickets for Little Big Town, ha).
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That is great news! I look forward to it.
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I don't understand how they are going to play the 1,500 seat Apollo for 16 weeks. It'd be like the play taking the Lunt, WInter Garden, or Marquis. Yes I know the Apollo is technically not a Broadway theater and as such the running costs will be lower, but still this seems like the production is being set up to fail. Is the play that epic that it won't be swallowed by the Apollo? I will happily if I am proven wrong, it just seems weird. 

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I saw this in 2001 at the Gramercy theater and enjoyed it. I remember Michael McElroy was wonderful as Blue singing all the soulful Vandrossy songs.  I think the cast of Lynn Whitfield and Leslie Uggams is exciting and look forward to seeing them both.  Can't wait to hear who they cast as Blue. 

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GreasedLightning
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With Legend producing in such a big space (that is out of the way for many regular theater goers) and for such a lengthy run, I have to wonder if some major star casting is in the works for this?

I know absolutely nothing about this show so please retract the claws before telling me there’s no part to star cast, etc. Blue will play the Apollo instead of Broadway
itsjustmejonhotmailcom
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GreasedLightning said: "With Legend producing in such a big space (that is out of the way for many regular theater goers) and for such a lengthy run, I have to wonder if some major star casting is in the works for this?

I know absolutely nothing about this show so please retract the claws before telling me there’s no part to star cast, etc. Blue will play the Apollo instead of Broadway
"

Leslie Uggams and Lynn Whitfield. http://www.playbill.com/article/leslie-uggams-and-lynn-whitfield-to-star-in-phylicia-rashad-helmed-blue-at-apollo-theater

 

ArtMan
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uncageg said: "Guess I will be going up to Harlem to see it. Nona Hendryx composed the music and I am a big fan. There is a cast recording but I can't find it on any of my services. It is available on CD on Amazon though."

Wow, Nona Hendryx.  Remember Do What You Wanna Do and Busting Out?  I'm dating myself, but she pulled me up on stage to dance with her during Keep It Confidential, back  in  my club days.

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uncageg
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GreasedLightning said: "With Legend producing in such a big space (that is out of the way for many regular theater goers) and for such a lengthy run, I have to wonder if some major star casting is in the works for this?

I know absolutely nothing about this show so please retract the claws before telling me there’s no part to star cast, etc. Blue will play the Apollo instead of Broadway
"

 

For a segment of the black community, this is star casting. I immediately wanted to see it with this cast and with Nona's music.

ArtMan, I danced mnay a time in the clubs back in the day to that remix of Keep It Confidential! And we chilled out listening to "Transformation".

Just give the world Love.
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ACL2006
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Could this have happened due to no Broadway theaters being available?

A Chorus Line revival played its final Broadway performance on August 17, 2008. The tour played its final performance on August 21, 2011. A new non-equity tour started in October 2012 played its final performance on March 23, 2013. Another non-equity tour launched on January 20, 2018. The tour ended its US run in Kansas City and then toured throughout Japan August & September 2018.
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That's what the article says: "The new production was originally slated for Broadway, but was unable to secure a theater there."

SouthernCakes
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Is the Apollo for profit? If it’s a non-profit maybe they don’t expect it to be a sold out smash hit but maybe it fills their programming for the summer months.
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itsjustmejonhotmailcom said: "GreasedLightning said: "With Legend producing in such a big space (that is out of the way for many regular theater goers) and for such a lengthy run, I have to wonder if some major star casting is in the works for this?

I know absolutely nothing about this show so please retract the claws before telling me there’s no part to star cast, etc. Blue will play the Apollo instead of Broadway
"

Leslie Uggams and Lynn Whitfield.http://www.playbill.com/article/leslie-uggams-and-lynn-whitfield-to-star-in-phylicia-rashad-helmed-blue-at-apollo-theater


"

Yes, thanks, I can read. I was more focused on the “Further casting to be announced” part. 

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SouthernCakes said: "Is the Apollo for profit? If it’s a non-profit maybe they don’t expect it to be a sold out smash hit but maybe it fills their programming for the summer months. "

It is a 501c3 and Ms. Uggams serves on the board of directors. In the press release, the managing director said that they hope to present more long-running shows in the future.

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There has also been a years-long push to get The Apollo considered as a Bway house.

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Would it be a fair consideration, though? I always felt the Apollo was more of a concert hall than a theatre, ala Radio City which is also not considered a Broadway house despite its capacity.

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BJR said: "There has also been a years-long push to get The Apollo considered as a Bway house."

There has?  By whom?  Certainly not by the Broadway League.  Perhaps by the Apollo itself (or maybe IATSE?)

 

SouthernCakes
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It’s always been an odd venue. They don’t seem to produce much theatrically, but I’m glad they’re going to do more long runs! It’s easy to get to and that whole area has really blown up
.
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Ado Annie D'Ysquith said: "Would it be a fair consideration, though? I always felt the Apollo was more of a concert hall than a theatre, ala Radio City which is also not considered a Broadway house despite its capacity."

I would say its lack of consideration would also likely have to do with its inconsistency in housing theatrical productions. With the Apollo Theater group's opening of the two black box theaters in the new Victoria Theater complex in Fall 2020, I could see them trying to re-appeal for the 2020-2021 season, with Blue, being their being considered a rechristening as Broadway house. I know people will argue due to the Apollo's location it should be exclude it from consideration as a Broadway house, but if the Apollo Theater group agrees to pay union/nonprofit union wages, and commits to having the venue house theatrical productions for at least 6 months out of the year, I don't see the problem. The Beaumont isn't located in the theater district either. It could really fill a need in the Broadway community of giving voice to playwrights of color, if that becomes the Apollo theater group's new mission.

Thus I don't have an issue with the theater getting a Broadway designation if it consistently houses theater productions (at least 6 months a year). My only question is what producers would be willing to risk placing a show in Harlem, but also at a 1,500 seat barn. In the grosses board, there seems to be at least one or two shows a season that sell an average of  1.1K-1.2K seats a performance, but because they are in a 1.5K+ seat house they bleed money. For example last season it was Tootsie. I am all for the Apollo being deemed a Broadway house though, it just needs to consistently house theatrical productions, instead of concerts and stand up.

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A nice opportunity for this play. They will have a better chance of reaching a target demographic uptown than they would in an Off-Bway house like the Westside or Greenwich House.

However, it would be an absolute fool's errand to get the Apollo designated as a permanent Broadway house:

– There would be cries of gentrification from leaders in the black community, unless it was going to be exclusively dedicated to producing works by artists of color. That area is already getting whiter, but this could take it to the extreme.

– 1500 seats is an impractical size for any Broadway show nowadays, imho.

– There's a huge difference (60 blocks) between the Apollo at 125th vs Lincoln Center at 65th (which is away from the theatre district but still walkable from Times Square). It would entirely re-define the meaning of "Broadway"...and within months, the Public would announce plans to add 201 seats to The Newman so it can also be designated "Broadway." (A slightly wider landscape isn't a bad thing, especially considering what Times Square has become, but there are limits.)

– It would be virtually impossible to recoup a commercial production in Harlem unless you had a major star or huge title. As we've seen with Slave Play and Holler If Ya Hear Me and many other shows, it is VERY hard to convert new ticketbuyers, especially at a sustainable Broadway price of $100+.

– It would kill any tourist traffic and casual theatergoers who don't live on the UWS or above. Harlem is still (wrongly) viewed as a dangerous place to most tourists, especially at night...and a "clean up Harlem" PR campaign would again be viewed as gentrification.

– Imagine getting the out-of-town Tony voters up to 125th?! It's hard enough getting them to attend plays and shows at the non-profits!

 

It would be nice if more shows did play the Apollo (like Dreamgirls in 2009) to keep things interesting. How great would it be if next time Denzel Washington or Jeremy O. Harris get the itch to do a play, they say "let's skip Broadway, do 10 weeks in Harlem, and half the tickets are under $35."

Updated On: 1/23/20 at 06:54 PM
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ErmengardeStopSniveling said: “It would be nice if more shows didplay the Apollo(like Dreamgirlsin 2009)to keep things interesting. How great would it be if next time Denzel Washington or Jeremy O. Harris getthe itch to do a play, they say "let's skip Broadway, do 10weeks in Harlem, and half the tickets are under $35.""

Of all the chatter here, this inspired idea excites me the most! 

SouthernCakes
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Viola Davis in anything at the Apollo, I’m there.

I will say the programming at the Apollo is a little weird. There doesn’t seem to be anything interesting playing there. Seems like they could do something similar to the Beacon, but I’m guessing the location is what kills it.

But still interesting to see something like Little Big Town opting to play there.
LightsOut90
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this is all so bizarre, they really couldn't wait for a house to open up next season)
troynow
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Interesting response... Time and time again we have had shows on Broadway with “major stars” and they fail. Also shows with no stars break records. We have no way of telling what will actually work.

I think it is cool this show is not waiting. There is something to be said for a show saying forget the Tony Awards and let’s put on a show.

The only difference between Broadway and The Apollo is the possibility of a Tony Award. Which is fine but there is more than that.

I have also heard the producers do not intend to sell all 1500 seats. Which is good.

Also they have stars and product and a community that will welcome it.