If there’s one thing about Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, it’s that the show must always go on! In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the famed theater will continue its amateur night online. This will mark the first time that the theater won’t hold live auditions. Videos are currently being accepted on a rolling basis.
In an interview with Vulture, producer Marian Caffey revealed how he’s sorting through the selection process, selecting five folders labeled one through five out of thousands of auditions, with five being the best and one being the worst.
“I go through those folders and watch them myself,” he explains. “I determine whether we cast the singer or not depending on where they fall on our rating scale so that we know how to build the show.”
Applicants have to score a rating of five to make it through the audition process.
“You want good people, you want not-as-good people,” Caffey politely explains. “You have to sort of build an entertaining evening.”
Apollo’s Amateur Night is the theater’s famed event where musicians and entertainers perform for the live audience. Famous musicians who have done amateur night include Lauryn Hill, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and Diana Ross.
“The Apollo Amateur Night is all about access,” executive producer Kamilah Forbes told Vulture. “What that’s saying is that, yes, this is a coveted space, but we want to make sure that any and everyone can get on, right? Moving our auditions online is one of those key ways we can lower the barrier of access.”