The Howard Theater was once a crucial stop on (what was once termed) BLACK BROADWAY. The famed theater was one of several venues on the royal, procession tours of elite black entertainers. Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, and Billie Holiday, all performed in the “largest colored theater in the world”.
The 102 year old venue, was once considered to be the one of the most exclusive stages for America’s greatest black performers. It opened in 1910 and was often referred to as Washington’s Apollo. But while the Apollo wouldn’t become receptive to black performers until 1934 the Howard was constructed near the heart of Washington’s black community and as such, was a receptive venue for black performers. The Howard closed in 1980 and it’s structure quickly deteriorated. It’s roof fell through and water damage eroded the once beautiful site. It took 29 million dollars to restore the new theater. The new Howard is filled with HD video screens, and club-style seating. It’s Gourmet menu was designed by Top Chef, and ethiopian-born chef Marcus Samuelson. A veritable who’s who of African American entertainers have come together to celebrate the restoration of the new Howard Theater. Bill Cosby, Dick Gregory, Boyz II Men, Chaka Khan and Smokey Robinson are all involved in the re-opening.