Lee Daniels Spearheading Documentary on Famed Apollo Theater

Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
From the Empire to the main stage.

Lee Daniels is continuing to grow his directorial empire with an upcoming documentary on the legendary Apollo Theater.

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Variety reports that Daniels has signed on to direct the project, which will tell the story of the famed New York venue.

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“I am honored to be entrusted with the story of this incredible American iconic institution and work with this team,” Daniels said.

For The Butler screenwriter, working on The Apollo Theater film project holds personal sentiments. 

“I used to go to the Apollo Theater as a kid and never in a million years would I have imagined I would be back to doing this—it is very special for me.”

The feature film will explore the history of the venue, which opened in 1934 and quickly became a pillar of Black culture during the Harlem Renaissance.

Apollo Theater President and CEO Jonelle Procope and Daniels are asking fans and audience members to submit any film footage, home videos, photographs or any other significant memorabilia and souvenirs from visits at various performances.

“We are asking members of the community who have been to the Apollo, who may have parents or grandparents or other family members or friends who have done so, to help us find any material: audience footage, photographs, or other memories that we can use in our documentary film,” said Daniels and Jonelle Procope, president and CEO of the Apollo Theater in a joint statement. “We have established a website for anyone who wants to submit. We will, of course, respect everybody’s ownership of their property.”

Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Nat King Cole, Gladys Knight, Sammy Davis Jr. and Billie Holiday are just some of the iconic voices who performed on the stage.

To learn how to donate footage and other memorabilia, click here.

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