Coronavirus News: Apollo Amateur Night accepting digital submissions

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- If you've ever dreamed of stepping onto the Apollo stage for Amateur Night, dazzling the audience with a rookie performance and taking your first step toward stardom, the dream is still alive...minus the stage and the audience.

The 86-year tradition of Amateur Night is being kept alive, but now submissions for the 2020-21 season will be online only.

"Digital technology has enabled us to stay more connected than ever before," Apollo Theater Executive Producer Kamilah Forbes said. "And during these uncertain times, it is incredibly vital for the Apollo Theater to continue to engage with artists and audiences around the world."

Amateur Night has run consistently since 1934, when it started in the shadow of the great depression, and has launched a long list of iconic careers including Jimi Hendrix, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, the Jackson 5 and Lauryn Hill.

"We're devastated by the loss the pandemic has had on the arts community, and we want to celebrate the talent and hard work artists have put into their craft," Forbes said. "Amateur Night represents this, and we want to keep the spotlight shining on these talented individuals."

The Apollo has accepted digital Amateur Night submissions for years from international performers, but this is the first year it will be the only means of trying out. In-person auditions scheduled for April 18 have been canceled.

But no venue doesn't mean no value. The grand prize winner is still in line for a $20,000 payday, with young performers age 17 and under eligible for a $5,000 prize.

So get ready to strut out onto that stage -- as long as that stage is in your living room.

For more information, visit ApolloTheater.org/amateur-night/auditions/.

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