Amateur Night In New York: Triumph and Terror at the Apollo

From the moment he rolled out of bed, Arthur Johnson found himself locked in silent combat with a sense of escalating dread. Over breakfast and as he walked to work through Brooklyn's shattered Brownsville section, the power of positive thinking had kept the terror at bay: tonight he'd be making his singing debut at Harlem's Apollo Theater, and that was obviously something to worry about. But the venue shouldn't matter to a real pro, he told himself over and over. If a man hits the right notes in the shower, he can do the same thing in front of 1,500 people....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!