The Apollo

Roger Ross Williams

Dazzling documentary about the renowned Apollo Theater in Harlem, with archive footage of numerous artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill and 12-year-old Stevie Wonder, revealing the theater’s paramount importance for the careers of black artists and for the black community in New York.

Artists often felt weak at the knees before the curtain fell, knowing they would be booed by the audience if their act failed to impress. But a successful performance could be the starting point of a bright career. And more importantly, the Apollo Theater offered a stage for black voices in a time of segregation.

The documentary is full of delightful recordings of now famous singers and dancers as they took their first steps on the stage, intertwined with lively anecdotes of artists, former employees and visitors that have witnessed the theater’s transformation over the years. Director Roger Ross Williams offers a unique perspective on the origins and development of African American music in all its facets.

The screening of The Apollo is made possible by Ziggo. The films, documentaries and series of HBO in the Netherlands can be seen exclusively at Ziggo Movies & Series XL, Home or HBO®.


Roger Ross Williams
Lisa Cortés
Country of production
United States
102 minutes
Spoken language
World Sales
HBO Documentary films