Spring's Bill T. Jones to Direct and Choreograph New Off-Broadway Musical Fela!

News   Spring's Bill T. Jones to Direct and Choreograph New Off-Broadway Musical Fela! Fela!, a new musical based on the life of groundbreaking African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, will begin a limited engagement at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts July 29.
Bill T. Jones discusses his work on Spring Awakening.
Bill T. Jones discusses his work on Spring Awakening. Photo by Greg Kalafatas

Bill T. Jones, who won a 2007 Tony Award for his Spring Awakening choreography, will direct and choreograph the production, which will play through Sept. 21. Opening night is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Produced by Ruth & Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay, Fela will feature a book by Jones and Jim Lewis and will utilize Kuti's own music performed live by Antibalas and other members of the New York Afrobeat community. Lewis, a Tony nominee for Chronicle of a Death Foretold, has also penned additional lyrics.

The cast will include 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 comprises scenic and costume designer Marina Draghici, lighting designer Rob Wierzel, sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and projection designer Peter Negrini. Musical director is Aaron Johnson. Show times July 29-Aug. 31 are Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 and 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM; beginning Sept. 2 performances will play Tuesday at 7 PM, Wednesday-Friday at 8 PM, Saturday at 2 and 8 PM and Sunday at 2 and 7 PM.

37 Arts is located in Manhattan at 450 West 37th Street at Tenth Avenue. Tickets are available by visiting www.Ticketmaster.com or by calling (212) 560-8912.

For more information go to www.FelaOffBroadway.com.