Broadway's Fela! Opens at London's National Theatre Nov. 16 | Playbill

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News Broadway's Fela! Opens at London's National Theatre Nov. 16 The award-winning Broadway production of Fela!, still running at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre through Jan. 2, 2011, opens officially at London's National Theatre Nov. 16, following previews that began Nov. 6. in the Olivier auditorium.

Sahr Ngaujah
Sahr Ngaujah Photo by Tristram Kenton

Sahr Ngaujah recreates his Broadway performance in the title role of Fela Kuti, joined by a new London company. Rolan Bell alternates in the role with him, playing the following performances: Dec. 18 matinee; Dec. 27-29 inclusive; Jan 4-5 inclusive.

The cast also features Paulette Ivory and Melanie Marshall; and, in the ensemble, Lydie Alberto, Cindy Belliot, Nandi Bhebhe, Ricardo Coke Thomas, Scarlette Douglas, Jacqui Dubois, Poundo Gomis, Jazmine Jarret Thorpe, Aisha Jawando, Wanjiru Kamuyu, Nyron Levy, Ira Mandela Siobhan, Shelley-Ann Maxwell, Tamara McKoy Patterson, Catia Moto da Cruz, Pamela Okoroafor, Jermaine Rowe and Craig Stein.

The show is described as a hybrid of dance, theatre and music, exploring 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), Fela! reveals Kuti's controversial life as an artist and political activist.

It is directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, who won the 2007 Tony Award, the 2007 Obie Award and 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation Callaway Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening. Before forming Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982, Bill Jones choreographed and performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane.

The show received its world premiere Off-Broadway in  September 2008, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, before transferring to Broadway's Eugene O’Neill Theatre in November 2009. Fela! has a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, and music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, with additional lyrics by Jim Lewis and additional music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean. It is based on the life of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. The show is designed by Marina Draghici, with lighting design by Robert Wierzel, sound design by Robert Kaplowitz, projection design by Peter Nigrini and wig, hair and make-up design by Cookie Jordan. Fela! is produced in association with Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Roy Gabay, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Edward Tyler Nahem, Slava Smolokowski, Chip Meyrelles/Ken Greiner, Douglas G. Smith, Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glazer, Daryl Roth/True Love Productions, Susan Dietz/Mort Swinsky, Knitting Factory Entertainment and with Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.

To book tickets, contact the box office on 020 7452 3000, or visit

Sahr Ngaujah and company
Sahr Ngaujah and company Photo by Tristram Kenton

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