Fela! plays final performance on 2 Jan 2011

The new Broadway musical Fela!, about the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, will play its final performance at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on 2 Jan 2011 after playing 34 previews and 464 regular perforemances.

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.

The production opened to excellent reviews: This is an event (newyorktheatreguide); Singular, sensational show (NY Times); Earns its exclamation point, joyfully and relentlessly (USA Today); Go to 'Fela!' anticipating a super-stimulating, world-class song-and-dance concert, led by a remarkable performer, and you won't be disappointed. (The Record).

Fela! is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening), with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones.

The show principle cast features Kevin Mambo (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti), Patti LaBelle (Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti) and Saycon Sengbloh (Sandra Isadore).

Scenic and costume design is by Marina Draghici, lighting design is by Rob Wierzel, sound design is by Rob Kaplowitz and projection design is by Peter Negrini. Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean have provided the musical arrangements.

The musical is presented on Broadway by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay.

Fela! received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design. The show also recieved eight 2010 Tony nominations, including Best musical, Best actor (Sahr Ngaujah) and Best actress (Lillias White).

The musical arrived on Broadway following its acclaimed world premiere in 2008 at Off-Broadway's 37 Arts. That production won the 2009 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and Best Choreography.

Sahr Ngaujah, who originated the role of 'Fela Anikulapo-Kuti,' on Broadway and Off-Broadway, is reviving the role in the show's London premiere currently playing at the National Theatre.

Originally published on

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