Tony-Winning Musical Fela! Will Play Lagos, Nigeria in April

News   Tony-Winning Musical Fela! Will Play Lagos, Nigeria in April
The story of the Broadway musical Fela! will come full circle in April. The musical about the Nigerian musician and political figure Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will debut in Lagos, producers officially announced Feb. 28.

Sahr Ngaujah
Sahr Ngaujah Photo by Tristram Kenton

Members of the original Broadway cast, including Tony Award nominee Sahr Ngaujah, will repeat their performances for the April 20-25 Nigerian run of Fela! The Nigerian production company Broken Shackles is producing the engagement that will play the Eko Hotel's New Expo Centre. Tickets for the Lagos production will go on sale March 15.

As on Broadway and in London, the engagement will also include the Afrobeat orchestra Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community. first reported talk of a Lagos bow for Fela! in May 2010. The musical's Tony Award-winning creator Bill T. Jones spoke of a plans for a Nigerian production to mark the 50th anniversary of the country's independence.

Producers are also aiming for an international tour of Fela!, though dates beyond the Lagos run have not been announced.

Jones directed and choreographed, Fela!, which 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 Jones, Lewis and Stephen Hendel. Fela! earned Tony nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones), Best Actor (Sahr Nguajah), Best Featured Actress (Lillias White), Best Choreography (Jones), Best Direction (Jones), Best Orchestrations (Aaron Johnson), Best Scenic Design (Marina Draghici), Best Costume Design (Marina Draghici), Best Lighting Design (Robert Wierzel) and Best Sound Design (Robert Kaplowitz). It took home the honors for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design.

The musical ran on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Nov. 23, 2009-Jan. 2, 2011. Fela! later arrived at London's National Theatre Nov. 6, 2010.

In Fela!, according to producers, "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."

Fela! was produced on Broadway 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.


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