“FELA!” Three-Time Tony Award-Winning Musical Comes to the Bay Area

R&B Recording Star Michelle Williams Stars as “Sandra Isadore” and

Adesola Osakalumi Stars as “Fela Kuti”

June 4 – 9, 2013, Paramount Theatre

Following overwhelming success and critical acclaim from coast to coast, the smash Broadway hit and 3-Time Tony Award-Winning musical, Fela! returns to the Bay Area. The recent engagement in San Francisco at The Curran Theatre was celebrated by critics. Robert Hurwitt of the San Francisco Chronicle proclaimed Fela! the “embodiment of exhilaration” while Karen D’Souza of The Mercury News/Bay Area News Group raved “Fela! sets the mind and the pulse racing” and “prepare to surrender to the beat.” So, due to intense popular demand, producers Jay-Z, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Stephen & Ruth Hendel have announced the musical’s return to the Bay Area on June 4-9, 2013 for an Exclusive Engagement at The Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612.

The national touring production of the hit Award winning Broadway musical features Adesola Osakalumi in the starring role of “Fela Kuti” and International R&B superstar Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child fame will star in the role of “Sandra Isadore,” activist and love interest of Fela Kuti when it returns to the Bay Area.

Other principals featured are Duain Richmond, who also stars as “Fela Kuti” in select performances, Melanie Marshall as “Funmilayo,” Fela Kuti’s mother, Ismael Kouyate as “Ismael” and Gelan Lambert as “J.K. Braimah/Tap Dancer/Egungun”. Also included in the cast are Oneika Phillips, Shakira Marshall, Jill Marie Vallery, Daniel Soto, Kafi Pierre, Ade Chike Torbert, Justin Prescott, Jason Herbert, Maliayka Reid, Talu Green, Shawn Alynda Fisher, Lauren De Veaux, India McGee, Tricia Taitt and Uyoata Udi.

A multi-award winning international singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress, Michelle Williams is best known as a member of the record-breaking R&B and Pop sensation, Destiny’s Child, one of the world’s best-selling female groups of all time. Born and raised in the small Chicago suburb of Rockford, Illinois, Michelle always dreamed of a life on stage.

In between recordings and concert tours, Michelle conquered yet another challenging mountain as an actress. First, she took the reins of Broadway’s Aida in 2003 to critical acclaim and audience raves. Then, in 2006, she took to the television screen for a hotly touted, ground-breaking multi-episode run in the popular UPN sitcom “Half & Half,” where she played the role of Naomi, a record company executive that was HIV-positive. In 2007, Michelle took on her greatest acting challenge when she joined the cast of the Broadway smash, The Color Purple for its national tour. She dazzled in the role of Shug Avery. In 2009, Michelle joined the London West End production of Chicago where she made history as being the first African American woman to play the lead role ofRoxie Hart. She reprised her role in February 2010 on Broadway for a limited engagement. In 2011, Michelle starred in the acclaimed touring stage play What My Husband Doesn’t Know which is now showing on BET.

Michelle is currently in the recording studio working on new material for her pop inspirational album due in 2013. She is also spokesperson for TERI (Training Education & Research Institute) a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with developmental and learning disabilities and works with the American Heart Association as an ambassador for the American Stroke Association. Most recently she became a spokesperson for NVEEE (National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment), an organization focused on preventing bullying, violence and suicide among young people.

A triumphant and inspirational tale of courage, passion and love, Fela! Is the true story of Kuti, who created a type of music, Afrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with rousing lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that ruled Nigeria and much of Africa. Featuring many of Fela Kuti’s most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones’s visionary staging, the global phenomenon that is Fela! reveals Kuti’s controversial life as an artist and political activist, while at the same time celebrating his pioneering music and commitment to the cause of universal human dignity.

Fela! is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones, with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones. It was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. Fela! received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography.

Fela! had its world premiere Off-Broadway in the summer of 2008, and opened on Broadway at the Eugene O’Neil Theater to rapturous reviews a year later where it played 34 previews and 463 regular performances. Numerous celebrities and dignitaries caught the groundbreaking musical, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey and Hugh Jackman, among others. Prior to its closing on Broadway, London’s Royal National Theatre presented the production as part of its season in the fall of 2010, marking the first time ever that the National Theatre had presented a show that was simultaneously running on Broadway. There, too, the show received rave reviews and numerous awards and accolades. The show went on to tour internationally, selling out theaters in Nigeria, Amsterdam, a return stint in London then a successful tour across the United States, culminating in an acclaimed encore four-week engagement on Broadway during the summer of 2012.

Tickets range from $37.50 – $77.50, plus applicable taxes and fees. Tickets can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000 and at The Paramount Theatre Box Office (Tues – Fri 11 AM – 5:30 PM and Sat 11 AM – 3 PM). Summer Hours (after May 20) -Wednesday 11 AM-5:30 PM and Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 AM-3 PM. Call (510) 465-6400 for the Ticket Office and call (510) 893-2300 for Administration.

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