It's Showtime for Fisher Dachs Associates - Apollo Theatre

January 1, 2001

Fisher Dachs Associates, award-winning theatre design firm, has been awarded the opportunity to restore the historic Apollo Theatre in New York City. Jules Fisher/Joshua Dachs Associates, Inc. (FDA) is one of the nation's leading theatre planning and design consulting firms, practicing worldwide.

It was showtime at the Apollo for the first time in 1914. Now more than eighty years later, despite the dramas of the theatre's openings and closings, through all the appearances of headliners and unknowns who have become legends, the Apollo has successfully held center stage as a critical force in the development of Black American culture and entertainment. Performers from Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald to Stevie Wonder and the Supremes have made their way to Harlem's historic theatre on 125th Street, building the venue's reputation for showcasing the best of black talent and elevating the Apollo to icon status.

FDA sees the restoration of the Apollo Theatre, a still elegant neoclassical structure, as a long term project which involves several phases over the next decade. The current 1400 seat Historic Apollo was last renovated in 1987.

Phase One will add interim improvements relating to the safety and efficacy of the adjacent Lowe's Victoria, a dilapidated 2100 seat theater that was subdivided into a multiplex. Phase Two will be the restoration of the Historic Apollo to it's former grandeur. Phase Three will create a state-of-the-art performance venue with 2,800 seats, that will attract the headliners forced to bypass the smaller Apollo. It will also include rehearsal space and incubator space for emerging performing arts groups. The last phase will involve creating up to date lobby space and backstage facilities for the Historic Apollo Theatre.

FDA is working with the architectural firms of Davis Brody Bond in conjunction with Beyer Blinder Belle. The Apollo restoration is being conducted under the guidance of the Apollo Theater Foundation (ATF), led by Derek Johnson, formerly a senior executive at AOL Time Warner. Mr. Johnson, President, ATF, describes the Apollo as "a unique institution, with a historical and cultural significance that is truly distinct and a brand that is without peer."

Richard Parsons, Chairman of ATF's Board of Directors, has observed that "a revitalized Apollo can be the catalyst for Harlem's economic and cultural renaissance."

FDA was been selected for the Apollo renovation based on their
well tuned professional understanding of the requirements of multipurpose theatres that showcase orchestral music, ballet and theatre. FDA has completed over 400 performing arts projects including such high profile New York area projects as Radio City Music Hall, New York and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.