Kevin Mambo Is Now Sole Title Player in Broadway's Fela! | Playbill

News Kevin Mambo Is Now Sole Title Player in Broadway's Fela!
Emmy winner Kevin Mambo, who had been alternating in the title role of Broadway's Fela! with Sahr Ngaujah, will now play the role of the late musician and Nigerian political figure Fela Anikulapo Kuti eight performances a week, according to a production spokesperson.

Kevin Mambo in Fela!
Kevin Mambo in Fela! Photo by Monique Carboni

Sahr Ngaujah, who received a Tony nomination for his work, played his final performance Oct. 10. 

Mambo is a two-time Emmy winner for his work on "Guiding Light." He has been seen Off-Broadway in Ruined, Hoodoo Love, Once Around The Sun and Fela Is a Weapon. His screen credits also include "Soul Food," "Any Day Now," "Law & Order," "Deadline," "Spin City," "Family Matters" and "Freshman Dorm."

Fela!, the new musical based on the life and music of groundbreaking African composer, plays the Eugene O'Neill Theatre and is scheduled to conclude its run Jan. 2, 2011. The cast also currently features Grammy winner Patti LaBelle.

After an acclaimed run Off-Broadway in 2008, Fela! began previews on Broadway Oct. 19, 2009.

Tony-winning Spring Awakening choreographer Bill T. Jones directs and choreographs the production that features a book by Jones and Jim Lewis and utilizes Anikulapo-Kuti's own music. Lewis, a Tony nominee for Chronicle of a Death Foretold, also penned additional lyrics. The musical was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. The production incorporates the Afrobeat orchestra Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of Aaron Johnson, who perform Kuti's music live onstage.

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."

The design team includes scenic and costume designer Marina Draghici, lighting designer Rob Wierzel, sound designer Rob Kaplowitz and projection designer Peter Nigrini. Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean will provide musical arrangements.

The musical, which earned the 2008 Lucille Lortel honor for Best Musical, played an acclaimed engagement at the now-closed 37 Arts in 2008. 37 Arts was also the birthplace of the Tony-winning musical In the Heights.

Fela! is produced by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Roy Gabay, Edward Tyler Nahem, Slava Smolokowski, Chip Meyrelles/Ken Greiner, Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glazer, Daryl Roth/True Love Productions, Knitting Factory Entertainment and Susan Dietz. In association with Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson.

Fela! won three 2010 Tony Awards: Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design and Best Choreography.


Kevin Mambo and the women of <I>Fela!</I>
Kevin Mambo and the women of Fela!

Click Here to Shop for Theatre
Merchandise in the Playbill Store
Today’s Most Popular News:

Blocking belongs
on the stage,
not on websites.

Our website is made possible by
displaying online advertisements to our visitors.

Please consider supporting us by
whitelisting with your ad blocker.
Thank you!