Sting and Alicia Keys were amongst other well-known music and entertainment personalities to visit the Broadway sensation Fela! during its first week run, and the praise for this dazzling production was unanimous.
Fela!, the new musical based on the life and music of groundbreaking African composer, performer and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, is currently playing at Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre (230 West 49th Street). Tickets for Fela! on Broadway are available through www.Telecharge.com, by calling (212) 239-6200 or in-person at The Eugene O'Neill Box Office, located at 230 West 49th Street.
Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Bill T. Jones with a book by Jim Lewis and music by the world-renowned Afrobeat band Antibalas, Fela! welcomes its audience 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), Fela! explores Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist and revolutionary musician. Featuring many of Fela Kuti's most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones's imaginative staging, Fela! is a provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater.
Upon its November 23 opening, Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, "The hot (and seriously cool) energy that comes from the musical gospel preached by the title character of Fela! feels as if it could stretch easily to the borders of Manhattan and then across a river or two. There has never been anything on Broadway like this production." The New York Post's Elisabeth Vincentelli cheered, "There's enough energy to short circuit Con Ed!" David Cote of Time Out New York, in giving it 5 stars (out of 5) raved, "Fela! is more than a musical; it's an ecstatic phenomenon." And Jennifer Farrar from the AP exclaimed, "An exuberant celebration!"
Fela! features a multi-cultural cast led by Sahr Ngaujah (recipient of an Obie Award for his performance in the title role Off-Broadway) and Kevin Mambo (MTC's Ruined), alternating in the role of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Tony Award-winner Lillias White plays Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti (Fela's mother) and Saycon Sengbloh (Hair) plays Sandra, Kuti's love interest. The company also includes Corey Baker, Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Catherine Foster, Rasaan-Elijah "Talu" Green, Shaneeka Harrell, Chanon Judson, Abena Koomson, Ismael Kouyate, Gelan Lambert, Farai Malianga, Shakira Marshall, Afi McClendon, Adesola Osakalumi, Jeffrey Page, Ryan H. Rankine, Daniel Soto, Jill M. Vallery, J.L. Williams, Iris Wilson, Aimee Graham Wodobode. Scenic and costume design is by Marina Draghici, lighting design is by Rob Wierzel, sound design is by Rob Kaplowitz and projection design is by Peter Nigrini. Musical arrangements and additional music by AaRon Johnson and Jordan McLean, and Jim Lewis provided additional lyrics.