FELA! – A Tony Award Winner at the Curran Theatre, 11/15–12/11

judith-kahn

BY JUDITH KAHN
Sentinel Fine Arts Writer
Judith Kahn © 2009
Photo by Zoe Christopher

SHN has announced Fela! as the 7th and final show in their upcoming 2011-2012 Season. Directed by Bill T. Jones, Fela! is a provocative hybrid of dance, theatre and music and has become an international sensation. The show explores the extravagant world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. It will play at San Francisco’s Curran Theatre now through December 11th.

Click here to order tickets on-line: FELA!

sahr-ngaujah-e28093-as-fela-kuti
SAHR NGAUJAH – as Fela Kuti
Photo, Monique Carboni

Recognized as an icon in the international world of rock and roll, soul, jazz and hip-hop, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was born in Abeokuta, Nigeria, north of Lagos in 1938. Kuti found his authentic musical voice adding elements of traditional Yoruba, high life and jazz, giving rise to “Afrobeat”. Through his music he condemned military regimes in Nigeria for their mismanagement and marginalization of the underprivileged. He has produced over 70 albums during his career. Featuring many of Fela Kuti’s most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones’s visionary staging, Fela! reveals Kuti’s controversial life as an artist and political activist and celebrates his pioneering music.

the-cast-of-fela
The cast of Fela!
Photo, Monique Carboni

The production received its world premiere Off-Broadway in September 2008, and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, before transferring to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre in November 2009 where its accolades included three 2010 Tony Awards – Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design, and an Astaire Award for the choreography of Bill T. Jones.

Next for Fela! was London’s National Theatre where it played a three month sold out run and was nominated for several Olivier Awards. In April the Broadway company travelled to Lagos, Nigeria, home of Fela Kuti. The event marked the first Broadway cast to play in this city. The cast of the production playing San Francisco includes the best of the Broadway and London companies.

Fela! is directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, and music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel, the design and Tony Award winning costumes are by Marina Draghici, lighting design by Robert Wierzel and the Tony Award winning sound design by Robert Kaplowitz.

melanie-marshall-and-sahr-ngaujah
Melanie Marshall and Sahr Ngaujah
Photo, Tristram Kenton

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