From jazz and blues to R&B and Motown, from plays to comedians and from Amateur Night to Showtime at the Apollo, the theater has been among the most important cultural and entertainment institutions for not only the African-American community, but the world.
From what Mr. Brown told me, and as the wonderful new movie, "Get On Up" powerfully shows, whatever frustrations he was dealing with then couldn't begin to match the pain, rejection and daily obstacles he endured as boy and young man.
While star-struck white kids traditionally headed for Hollywood or Broadway, their black counterparts bucked the odds and beat a path for Harlem and the Wednesday-night amateur show at the Apollo Theater.
Harlem's legendary Apollo Theater celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. It is bursting with music, theater and dance, and it looks marvelous, thanks to millions in renovations and upgrades -- an appropriate state for this iconic American cultural institution.
Due to one of those odd coincidences, theater at the moment seems to be about chairs. Rowan Atkinson sits in a relatively comfy one throughout the flawless revival of Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms, at Wyndham's.