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Guides Association of New York City (GANYC) Announces Billy Mitchell as Lifetime Achievement Honoree at 4th-Annual GANYC Apple Awards

The Guides Association of New York City (GANYC)  is proud to announce that “Mr. Apollo” Billy Mitchell will be the Lifetime Achievement Award honoree at the 4th Annual GANYC Apple Awards on March 12, 2018 at the SVA Theater. The Apple Awards celebrate those who make New York City great. Over a dozen awards are given out each year to individuals & organizations from across our five boroughs.

In particular, the Lifetime Achievement Award honors individuals who have shown exceptional commitment to improving our city and our experience as tour guides. “Mr. Apollo” certainly fits that description.

Billy Mitchell is an actor, director, voice-over artist, mentor, producer, and lecturer. To tourists, Apollo Theater patrons, celebrity entertainers and friends in the Harlem community, Billy Mitchell is Mr. Apollo. Spirited and charming, Mr. Mitchell knows the Apollo Theater like the back of his hand and is one of the longest tenured employees at the historic venue. In 1991, Mr. Mitchell was named the Apollo Theater’s Historical Tour Manager and is now the landmark theater’s Tour Director and resident historian.

Billy Mitchell was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York as the fifth of fourteen children. As a young boy, he and his friends would go to Amateur Night at the Apollo. It was on one of his first visits that Billy witnessed the making of a legend first hand, when a nine year old Michael Jackson and his brothers won the amateur contest. From that day on, Billy would hop on the train to 125th Street after school and on weekends position himself at the Apollo’s backstage entrance, and offer shoe shines and run errands for Apollo performers. In 1984, Billy was hired by the Apollo as an usher. Since then, he has worn almost every hat the theater has to offer including gift shop manager, stagehand, and even Amateur Night Producer, where he auditioned and coordinated the weekly productions. He was also responsible for the Apollo’s first Caribbean Music Award Show and produced many of the theater’s children’s performances.

Over the course of his Apollo tenure, Billy Mitchell has interacted with thousands of visitors from around the world, transporting them through pivotal eras in Harlem and Apollo Theater history with a unique presentation that is part vaudeville and part historical lecture. With his countless backstage memories and stories about Apollo legends like James Brown, Ella Fitzgerald, Mahalia Jackson, Sammy Davis Jr., Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Redd Foxx, Moms Mabley, Denzel Washington, Ossie Davis, Marvin Gaye, and The Temptations, Mr. Mitchell provides unique behind-the-scenes insight that only a true insider can give.

Previous winners of GANYC’s Lifetime Achievement Award include cabaret impresario Steve Ross, Harlem jazz legend Marjorie Eliot, and artist James Turrell.

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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