Revised Fela! Will Have Early Summer Workshop

News   Revised Fela! Will Have Early Summer Workshop The creators of Fela! — the acclaimed new musical based on the life of groundbreaking African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti that played a limited engagement in fall 2008 at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts — will reconvene this summer.
Fela! star Sahr Ngaujah.
Fela! star Sahr Ngaujah. Photo by Monique Carboni

A spokesperson for the musical confirmed to Playbill.com that auditions will be held next week for a late June/early July workshop of the musical. Following the workshop, which will give those involved a chance to hone the show's material, the creative team and the Fela! producers will decide whether the show will have a life on Broadway or at another venue.

Bill T. Jones, who won a 2007 Tony Award for his Spring Awakening choreography, directed and choreographed Fela, which played its final performance at 37 Arts Oct. 5, 2008.

Fela! features a book by Jones and Jim Lewis and utilizes Kuti's own music. Lewis, a Tony nominee for Chronicle of a Death Foretold, also penned additional lyrics.

The Off-Broadway cast — many of which are expected to return for the summer workshop — included Sahr Ngaujah as Fela and Abena Koomson as Fela's mother with Anne Andre, Corey Baker, Calvin C. Booker, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Aimee Graham, Talu Green, Karma Mayet Johnson, Ismael Kouyate, Maia McKinney, Marcus Phillips, Daniel Soto, Sparlha Swa, Jill M. Vallery and Iris Wilson.

In Fela!, press notes state, "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."

The design team comprised scenic and costume designer Marina Draghici, lighting designer Rob Wierzel, sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and projection designer Peter Negrini. Musical director was Aaron Johnson.