Apollo Theater Celebrates 80th Anniversary With Record-Breaking Fundraising Gala

The Apollo Theater celebrated its 80-year legacy on Tuesday night (June 10) during its annual spring gala. The fundraising event also raked in a record $2.3 million in support of the legendary theater, Forbes reports.

The star-studded event was hosted by Emmy award-winning entertainer, Wayne Brady (pictured above), who kept the crowd in stitches with his humorous wit and knack for improvisation. Throughout the night, artist veterans Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, and Doug E. Fresh highlighted Apollo’s illustrious history by performing classic Motown, jazz, blues, and hip-hop ballads.

The benefit, which raises funds for the Apollo Theater’s education and outreach community programs, also honored former Citigroup and Time Warner Cable chairman Richard D. Parsons. Parsons received the Apollo’s Leadership Award for his integral role in revitalization of the theater since 2001.

“Apollo is a brilliant, multi-faceted gem: a bedrock institution in the vibrant history of Harlem,” Parsons said. “A spiritual force driving artistic creativity and innovation, and a powerful cultural influence in the United States and the entire world.”