FELA! is a musical based on the life of Fela Kuti. It premiered Off-Broadway in the summer of 2008 for a limited run, and debuted on Broadway in the fall of 2009, ending its Broadway run in January of 2011. The show, which won three Tony Awards, is primarily staged to look and feel like a Fela Kuti concert that takes place in his own nightclub, Shrine.
Where and how to see FELA!:
FELA! is currently on tour in the United States and is also showing on London's West End. For information about the tour, visit FelaOnBroadway.com.
The Music and Dance of FELA!:
FELA! is the brainchild of legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones, and thus, dance is a major part of the show. Jones has incorporated traditional and modern African dance with modern choreographic elements to create an impressive stage show. The music is by and large that of Kuti himself, with a few additional pieces composed by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean and lyrics by Jim Lewis. The show's music is performed by New York-based afrobeat group Antibalas, of which Johnson and McLean are members, and the live band atmosphere gives the show a very different feeling than standard Broadway "pit orchestra" fare.
FELA! Cast and Crew:
The original cast of FELA! on Broadway included Sahr Ngaujah as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Lillias White as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, Saycon Sengbloh as Sandra Isadore, and over a dozen other performers, all of whom sing and dance in the highly animated production.