Beware the Executioner at Harlem’s Apollo Theater

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Before “American Idol,” “The Voice” or “The X Factor,” there was Amateur Night at the Apollo. Based in Harlem’s Apollo Theater, Amateur Night is a talent competition recognized for launching the careers of icons like Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Billie Holiday. But, before any of them became the music legends they are today, they had to face the wrath of one especially hard-to-please audience. Enter C.P. Lacey. For the past 30 years, he’s reigned as the Apollo’s resident “executioner,” kicking contestants offstage when the “booing” gets too loud.

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