WASHINGTON (AP) — Before there was the Apollo, there was the Howard.

The nearly 102-year-old Howard Theatre in Washington officially lifts its curtain once again Thursday for a reopening gala after a $29 million renovation. Smokey Robinson, Savion Glover and Madeleine Peyroux will perform, along with Chaka Khan, Boyz II Men and others.

When Washington’s U Street corridor was known as “Black Broadway,” the Howard was a crown jewel. It opened in 1910, touted as the “largest colored theater in the world.” It launched careers for Duke Ellington, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and Ella Fitzgerald, who won an early Amateur Night.

The new Howard is a modern performance space with supper club seating or standing room.

New York’s Blue Note Entertainment has a 20-year lease to operate the theater, promising an eclectic lineup.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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