Wednesday, March 2, 2011


FELA! the critically acclaimed Broadway musical about the life and music of Afro-beat music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, finally heads home to Nigeria. The show has been scheduled to be performed live in Lagos at the New Expo Centre, Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, from April 20th- 25th, 2011.

The musical in Lagos is being produced by a Nigerian production company, Broken Shackles, in conjunction with Lagos State Government. “FELA! in Lagos will be the most talked about show in Nigeria for years to come. We have created sponsorship, branding and advertising opportunities for those who wish to be a part of this historic theatrical event.” said a spokesperson for Broken Shackles. It will also star its original Broadway cast with Sahr Ngaujah reprising his Tony-nominated role of Fela Kuti, while music would be supplied by the internationally renowned Antibalas as well as other members of the New York City Afro-beat community.

FELA! the musical, which premiered on Broadway on November 23, 2009, was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel and its producers include the entertainment icons Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith. It went on to bag eleven Tony Award nominations - winning three - as well as receive more international acclaim and awards in its subsequent premiere at the National Theatre's Olivier Theatre, London (NTLive), which enjoyed a three-month sold-out run.  The NTLive production was also broadcast to 370 cinemas worldwide. In February, the British Council Nigeria and National Theatre, London (NT Live), in association with the British Deputy High Commission, Lagos, had organised a screening of the international hit musical Fela! at Afrika Shrine. The production was filmed live at the Olivier Theatre in London, a UK version of the original Broadway musical.

So, all things being equal, Nigerians at home would also experience the exhilarating feeling of watching the show that has received standing ovations from global icons such as Mick Jagger, Madonna, Robert De Niro, Spike Lee, Ben Okri, Janet Jackson, Denzel Washington and Wole Soyinka. According to its producers, the aim of FELA! in Lagos is to unite and connect Africans in spirit and unity, to serve as a catalyst for cultural revival in Nigeria, and to celebrate Fela Kuti, for the contribution he has made to Nigeria and the world. The Lagos edition would be the first Broadway show to be performed in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the first since the closing of the Broadway and London productions.
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