Thursday, June 7, 2012

Apollo Theater Hosts 7th Annual Spring Gala Benefit Concert & Awards Ceremony

Apollo Theater’s 2012 Hall of Fame Inductee, Lionel Richie, Apollo Theater president and CEO, Jonelle Procope, and Citi CEO and Corporate Honoree, Vikram Pandit

Lionel Richie and the late Etta James inducted into Apollo Legends Hall of Fame

HARLEM, NY - On Monday, June 4th, the Apollo Theater, one of the nation’s greatest cultural treasures, hosted its 7th annual spring gala benefit and awards ceremony. Proceeds from the gala supported the non-profit Theater’s arts, education and community engagement programs.

Lionel Richie and Etta James were inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame, and joined past inductees of legendary musicians, artists, and entertainers whose paths to fame included the Apollo. Both received a plaque in the Apollo Walk of Fame, installed under the Theater’s iconic marquee on 125th Street.

The gala was hosted by Sinbad, celebrated comedian and former host of Showtime at the Apollo, and featured special performances and tributes by Gladys Knight, Chaka Khan, Eddie Levert and Valerie Simpson, who remembered her husband and legendary songwriting partner Nick Ashford. Guests included Gayle King, Apollo Theater Board Chairman Richard Parsons, Leslie Uggams, and Gabon Ambassador Michael Moussa-Adamo and family, among others.

Gladys Knight performs during the Apollo Theater 2012 Spring Gala.

Gospel music duo Mary Mary performs. The duo tweeted, “Omg!! At the Apollo theater watching Ms Gladys Knight honoring Ms Etta James. Can't believe we're singing here to honor Lionel Richie!”

Danny Glover, Apollo Theater president and CEO, Jonelle Procope and Ray Chew, gala musical director.

Additionally, each year at the Spring Gala benefit, the Apollo recognizes a corporation whose support enables the Theater to grow and expand its artistic, community, and education programs. The Apollo presented Citi with its 2012 Corporate Award, in recognition of its outstanding philanthropy and community leadership. “Citi is proud to be a long-time supporter of the Apollo Theater,” said Citi CEO Vikram Pandit. “The Apollo is world-renowned for discovering great talent and its education programs are second to none.”

The gala benefit concert and awards ceremony was produced by Ron Weisner for Ron Weisner Entertainment, and a glamorous after-party featuring a stylish lounge was transformed and created by celebrity event planner Marc Wilson of Marc Wilson Design:

Apollo Theater Young Patrons: Lauren Maillian Bias, Peter Were, Seitu Jemel Hart, Tiffany Meriweather, Alexis Cepeda, and Jumi Falusi at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala After Party.

Alicia Bythewood, Apollo Spring Gala Co-Chair with Charles Biondo, Francesca Biondo and Tomoko Haber

William and Terri Borden, Carolyn and Mark Mason and guests from Citigroup.

Chaka Khan and  Jonelle Procope. Chaka performed a tribute to the late superstar Whitney Houston.

DJ D-Nice provided sounds for the evening.

Guests dancing at the Apollo Theater Spring Gala After Party.

The Apollo Theater gratefully acknowledges its Spring Gala Sponsors: Citi; MacAndrews & Forbes; His Excellency Michael Moussa-Adamo, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Gabonese Republic to the United States of America, Mexico and Haiti; JPMorgan Chase & Co.; Ticketmaster; and TVOne. Visit the website at

Photo credit:  Shahar Azran Photography, LLC

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