Fela! Resurrected In Broadway Phenom

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Fela! is an explosive, awe-inspiring show and perhaps the best and most original part of the production is when it explores the relationship between the musician and his accomplished mother with a backdrop of African rituals and egungun spirits.

[Entertainment: Theater]

The late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Nigeria’s most famous musician has been resurrected by Tony Award winning director, Bill T. Jones in a manner that makes the legend more accessible to Western audiences.

For those who are unacquainted with his music or reputation for being a thorn in the flesh of military rulers and despots in Africa and around the world, this production does a lot to educate while entertaining with memorable beats and the signatory blare of the saxophone.

Fela! takes the audience into the legendary nightclub “African Shrine” where the musical icon and political activist played for several years, perfecting his music and criticism of the military junta in his homeland.

A biography ensues as Fela takes the crowd through his life story, his relationship with his mother, his rebellion against zombie soldiers and the origin of his style of music, Afro-juju. The performance is quite interactive with the hip-gyrating dancers filing through the theatre and Fela’s insistence of crowd participation. Brooklyn-based Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, who has been performing Fela’s music since his death in 1997, also does not disappoint.

Fela! is an explosive, awe-inspiring show and perhaps the best and most original part of the production is when it explores the relationship between the musician and his accomplished mother with a backdrop of African rituals and egungun spirits. It is not too often that a musical depicting an African character makes it to Broadway and Anikulapo-Kuti comes across as a champion for the rights of his people, music as his weapon, fighting till the very end. 

Fela!, Contains spirituality and brief smoking. In English, Pidgin English and Yoruba with subtitles. At the Eugene O’Neil Theatre in previews with the official opening date set for November 23rd, 2009.


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