Striking up a partnership with a company called Hologram USA, the Apollo theater will be using hologram technology to display a virtual simulation of Billie Holiday in a show that’s scheduled to being during late 2015. With approval from Holiday’s estate, her hologram will be displayed in combination with her recorded music. In addition, she will welcome guests to the Harlem venue, a theater where she performed nearly thirty times during her musical career.
Besides the live show, the hologram technology is being used for another purpose. According to Apollo president Jonelle Procope, many New York City tourists visit the theater during the day, but aren’t able to actually watch a show. This installation will provide an educational showpiece at the Apollo. Speaking about the hologram, Procope said “Billie is going to be able to talk about the history of the Apollo. She can take questions from the audience in an interesting way. She can sing some songs.”
Besides Billie Holiday, Hologram USA is also developing shows around holograms of Buddy Holly, Liberace, Nat King Cole and Patsy Cline. During late 2014, the company partnered with Jimmy Kimmel to broadcast a live hologram at a theater in Nashville, Tennessee. More recently, the company tried to display a hologram of rapper Chief Keef at a show in Indiana, but the show was shut down by local authorities out of fear that his digital appearance could incite violence at the show.
At this time, there are no details on when the Billie Holiday show will start at the Apollo or how much it’s going to cost to attend. It’s likely that the Apollo is attempting to take advantage of the additional tourists visiting the city during the holiday season. Hypothetically, the Apollo could also create a version of the show during the day when tourists are visiting the iconic venue.