FREEZE FRAME: Michelle Williams & Adesola Osakalumi Prepare for FELA! National Tour
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by Walter McBride
Former member of Destiny's Child Michelle Williams will join the national tour of the hit Award-winning Broadway musical Fela! when it opens at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC on January 29. Fela! received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography. Williams and the rest of the cast met the press earlier today, and you can check out a photo preview from the festivities below!
A triumphant and inspirational tale of courage, passion and love, Fela! is the true story of Kuti, who created a type of music, Afrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with rousing lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that ruled Nigeria and much of Africa. Featuring many of Fela Kuti's most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones's visionary staging, the global phenomenon that is Fela! reveals Kuti's controversial life as an artist and political activist, while at the same time celebrating his pioneering music and committment to the cause of universal human dignity. "More than a musical, an ecstatic phenemenon" (David Cote, Time Out New York), Fela! "Is a spectacularly inspiring hybrid: theater, music, dance, biography, history lesson, political rally, and religious experience. Sublime" (Joyce Kulhawik).
A multi-award winning international singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress, Michelle Williams is best known as a member of the record-breaking R&B and Pop sensation, Destiny's Child, one of the world's best-selling female groups of all time. Born and raised in the small Chicago suburb of Rockford, Illinois, Michelle always dreamed of a life on stage. Fiercely guided by her faith and raised with a strong family core, Michelle was certain that one day she'd be a superstar. During her teenage years, she directed church and community choirs; a platform that not only served to develop her distinct voice but also her independence and dexterity as an artist. Throughout her career in Destiny's Child, Michelle explored solo terrain by releasing two gospel recordings: the award-winning "Heart To Yours" (2002), which featured a collaboration with the legendary Shirley Caesar, and "Do You Know" (2004). At the end of 2008, Michelle joined forces with producer Rico Love and created a fresh and innovative sound on her dance/pop album, "Unexpected." The first single released from the album, "We Break the Dawn," quickly became a huge club hit, topping the Billboard Hot Dance/Club Play and Hot Dance Airplay charts. For fans of her subtle and smooth work in Destiny's Child, as well as her soul-stirring spiritual solo work, this was a brand-new Michelle Williams.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride