Upcoming slate includes revival of 'Dreamgirls'
Dionne Warwick, Melvin Van Peebles and Savion Glover were among the guests at the Apollo Theater Tuesday morning for a presentation of highlights planned for the legendary Harlem venue’s 75th anniversary season.
Apollo prexy Jonelle Procope, in-house historian Billy Mitchell and others unveiled the theater’s upcoming slate, including the kickoff of the new touring production of “Dreamgirls,” beginning perfs Nov. 6.
The revival will be directed and choreographed by Bobby Longbottom, with set by Robin Wagner and costumes by William Ivey Long. Producer John Breglio said he received a huge response to his casting call for the tuner.
“We had an open call here at Thanksgiving and at 4:30 in the morning we had nearly 700 women lined up along 125th Street, hoping for the chance to be in this iconic musical,” Breglio said.
Other announcements included several new partnerships with institutions such as Carnegie Hall, which will team with the Apollo on “Honor!,” an African-American culture festival curated by soprano Jessye Norman. The theater will join forces with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on a touring exhibition to include selections from the Apollo’s photo and video archive.
The announcements were bookended by performances from some local talent: the Brooklyn Steppers (fresh from their perf last week at the presidential inauguration) opened the press conference in full marching band regalia, streaming down the aisles onto the stage.
Warwick, Glover and Chuck Jackson reminisced about their gigs at the Apollo — tapdance wizard Glover recalled visiting the upper, unrenovated floors of the building in order to get a more authentic vibe.
“When I performed here you had to run up and down the stairs to the fifth floor every half-hour,” responded Jackson. “When I came here this morning, they gave me a dressing room with a television and a shower. Mr. Glover, you can have the upstairs.”