The original Broadway production of Fela! opened on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre November 23, 2009. The musical, directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, played 34 previews and 463 performances before closing January 2, 2011. The musical earned 11 Tony Award nominations, winning three for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design of a Musical, and Best Sound Design of a Musical.
Conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis, and Stephen Hendel, Fela! explores the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Nigerian artist, activist, composer, and performer. The musical uses Kuti’s music with additional musical by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean and a book by Jones and Jim Lewis.
The production starred Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo as Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Lillias White as Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, and Saycon Sengbloh as Sandra Isadore alongside ensemble members Corey Baker, Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren De Veaux, Nicole Chantal de Weever, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Rasaan-Elijah “Talu” Green, Shaneeka Harrell, Abena Koomson, Ismael Kouyate, Gelan Lambert, Sharika Marshall, Afi Bijou, Adesola Osakalumi, Jeffrey Page, Daniel Soto, Jill Marie Vallery, Iris Wilson, and Aimee Graham Wodobode. Rounding out the company were Catherine Foster, Chanon Judson, Farai Malianga, and J. L. Williams as swings and Adesola Osakulumi as the Fela Anikulapo-Kuti understudy.
Fela! featured scenic design and costume design by Marin Draghici, lighting design by Robert Wierzel, sound design by Robert Kaplowitz, and projection design by Peter Nigrini with stage management by Jon Goldman, Linda Marvel, and Hilary Austin. For the complete cast and creative team, visit PlaybillVault.com/Fela!.