Fela! Broadway Musical at National Theatre in November
The National Theatre has confirmed that it will produce the Broadway musical Fela!, performing in repertoire at the Olivier Theatre from November 2010. (In repertoire with Hamlet starring Rory Kinnear & Clare Higgins.)
Bill T. Jones, who directed and choreographed the Broadway production will also direct and choreograph in London. Sahr Ngaujah, who originated the role and currently appears in the Broadway production, and Kevin Mambo, who shares the role with Sahr Ngaujah on Broadway, will also join the otherwise all-British cast for a limited run. The Broadway production will continue its open-ended run.
Fela! is about the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela 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.The show is a hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater.
It has music by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones.
Fela! had its world premiere at Off-Broadway’s 37 Arts in 2008, before transferring to Broadway's Eugene O'Neill Theatre in November 2009 to excellent notices from the popular press: Ben Brantley for New York Times says, "Singular, sensational show." Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News says, "One of the most original and exciting shows to come around in a long while." Elisabeth Vincentelli for New York Post says, "This is as close as Broadway gets to fully immersive theater." Elysa Gardner for USA Today says, "Fela! earns its exclamation point, joyfully and relentlessly."