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Archive for Sunday, November 24, 2002

Donations help save ‘Harlem Song’

November 24, 2002

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— "Harlem Song" has been saved.

More than $300,000 from a variety of public and private sources has come through for the musical revue, allowing the production to complete its engagement this year at the historic Apollo Theater and return next fall for a three-month season.

"Happily, now 'Harlem Song' is paying for itself, or close to paying for itself," producer John Schreiber said Monday, adding that the $4 million production has more than broken even during the last couple of weeks.

Last month, Schreiber announced the show, a history of Harlem told in song and dance, would have to close unless more money was forthcoming to keep it running. Even though "Harlem Song," which plays on a Saturday through Monday schedule, has been seen by over 70,000 theatergoers, it suffered substantial financial losses since opening last August.

The producer said the new infusion of cash came primarily from two sources :quot; the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the New York City Investment Fund, a private fund.

The Empowerment Zone, a collaborative effort by city, state and the federal government to provide funding to business enterprises and cultural institutions, came aboard first, Schreiber said.

"This is good for all of New York," said lawyer Johnnie Cochran, the Zone's chairman. "People come to Harlem and see a new revitalization of this great community." He added that the show has become a catalyst for dramatically increased restaurant and retail revenues in the area.

The New York City Investment Fund then brought in other organizations, including the Rockefeller Foundation, the Citigroup Foundation, Goldman, Sachs & Co., and Merrill Lynch, among others.

Schreiber said the revue will now run through Dec. 31 at the Apollo and return next year as a holiday attraction, beginning in October.

"We hope 'Harlem Song' will be the first resident company at the Apollo Theater for the Performing Arts," Schreiber said.

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