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New Musical To Be Released Based On The Life Of Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Published July 3, 2008

Ruth and Stephen Hendel along with Roy Gabay present the world premiere of Fela!, a new musical about the groundbreaking African composer, performer and activist. Members of Antibalas to provide live musical accompaniment.

Directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening) with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, Fela! will feature Kuti’s rousing music performed live onstage by Antibalas and other members of the New York Afrobeat community. This limited Off-Broadway run will begin performances at 37 Arts (450 West 37th Street at 10th Avenue) on Tuesday, July 29 and play through September 21. The official opening is set for Thursday, September 4.


In this new musical, directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones with a book by Jim Lewis, 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), 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, this new show is a provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical theater.


Fela! will feature a multi-cultural cast led by Sahr Ngaujah in the title role and Abena Koomson as his mother, with Anne Andre, Corey Baker, Calvin C. Booker, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Aimee Graham, Talu Green, Karma Mayet Johnson, Ismael Kouyate, Maia McKinney, Marcus Phillips, Daniel Soto, Sparlha Swa, Jill M. Vallery and Iris Wilson. Scenic and costume design is by Marina Draghici lighting design by Rob Wierzel sound design by Rob Kaplowitz and projection design by Peter Negrini. The Musical Director is Aaron Johnson.