New Apollo Theater show travels back in time

Kemberly Richardson has the story.
February 20, 2014 2:47:38 PM PST
The Apollo Theater in Harlem is traveling back in time for a new show, all part of the famed theater's 80th anniversary celebration.

It has been transformed into an elegant nightclub, and the 1930's and '40's will come alive again, beginning Thursday night.

In 1934, the Apollo opened its doors, becoming the launching pad for countless legendary jazz greats.

And for the next few days, audiences will be taken back in time.

During 'Apollo Club Harlem', a fast-paced new revue, host, choreographer and dancer Maurice Hines will be front and center.

"The stage was built for this show, incredible," the Harlem native said.

He says being here is overwhelming. His brother is the late tap dancer Gregory Hines.

"When I'm on this stage I feel my brother's presence because we were 5 and 7 when we got here and I feel him here," said Maurice Hines.

In a space that has been transformed, reminiscent of night clubs that thrived in the 1930's and '40's.

For the audience, the setup creates a sense of intimacy.

"We don't intend for them to sit there with their hands folded, we really want them to be engaged," said Apollo Theater Executive Producer Mikki Shepard.

Shepard says the show seamlessly combines the classics with the newcomers.

"We also have the Wonder Twins, who are hip hop dancers and they do this snake hips in a segment that includes four Josephine Bakers in banana skirts," said Shepard.

Maurice Hines admits he's learned by watching icons Sammy Davis, Louis Armstrong, and the Nicholas Brothers.

This show is his way of saying thank you.