PHOTO CALL: Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Celebrate Patti LaBelle's Fela! Opening

News   PHOTO CALL: Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Celebrate Patti LaBelle's Fela! Opening Co-producers Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were on hand to celebrate Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle's official debut in the role of Fela's mother, Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, in Broadway's Fela! Sept. 14.

LaBelle succeeds Tony winner Lillias White, who played her final performance Sept. 12. The acclaimed singer will stay with the production through its closing on Jan. 2, 2011.

 

Directed and choreographed by Tony-winning Spring Awakening choreographer Bill T. Jones, Fela!, the new musical based on the life and music of groundbreaking African composer, plays the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.

After an acclaimed run Off-Broadway in 2008, the production began previews on Broadway Oct. 19, 2009. Sahr Ngaujah, who headlined the Off-Broadway premiere, alternates in the role of the late African musical figure, with Kevin Mambo (Ruined).

Here is a look at LaBelle’s opening night:


 

In Fela!, according to production notes, "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), [the musical] explores Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician."

For more information, visit FelaonBroadway.com.

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