FELA! Hits Broadway
The Broadway musical Fela! is hoping that the newest members of its producing team will create the kind of magic Oprah Winfrey brought to The Color Purple. After a month of previews at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre, the show has attracted Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as first-time Broadway producers. Fela! is set to open on November 23, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones.
In Fela!, which features a book by Jones and Jim Lewis, audiences are welcomed into the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Using his pioneering music (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies), in a hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater, the show explores Kuti’s controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician.
The original version of the musical opened off Broadway last year and starred Sahr Ngaujah, who will reprise his critically acclaimed role as Kuti. Production on the rehearsals was halted recently due to financial concerns.