Every so often a Broadway success story arrives on a London stage to show audiences in the United Kingdom what all the fuss was about stateside. The latest is the Tony Award-nominated production “FELA!” which will have the honour of being staged at Sadlers Wells.
Fela Kuti was well known for a number of reasons; he was the pioneer of the afrobeat musical style, which saw the fusing of West African rhythms with other styles like jazz and funk , and he was a rebellious force. It means that whilst his songs featured a unique style they were also ripe with political activism, which made him a great source of contention in the eyes of the Nigerian government of the time. His shows would sometimes cause riots and albums like “Zombie” would lead to attacks on his commune from soldiers, leading to the death of his mother.
To give a sense of this man and what he represented to theatregoers, “FELA!” utilises a range of techniques, from musical theatre to dance moves and concert performances combining to bring his story to life. The result will be a show that stands up and makes itself known, proving that even thirteen years after his death in 1997, Fela Kuti is still regarded as an influential figure.
So it required a talented actor to portray him onstage and this falls on Sahr Ngaujah, a Sierra Leonean performer who has been involved in the theatre from an early age. The show’s nomination for a Tony Award is a testament to the good decisions made by the creative team stateside and with the casting of Ngaujah this is all apparent. As well as the Broadway version of “FELA!”, which he appeared in from November 2009, he has also appeared onscreen in the likes of “Stomp the Yard” and “House of Payne”.
But he will not be appearing onstage alone and will star alongside the likes of Kevin Mambo at the Olivier National Theatre, who is best known for his multiple Emmy Award-winning role in the US television series “Guiding Light”. He has been seen on Broadway on many occasions and with screen roles to match, he is clearly a talented performer.
FELA! makes its appearance at Sadlers from Wednesday 20th July 2011 until Sunday 28th August 2011.
|Booking From:||Wednesday, 20th July 2011|
|Booking Until:||Sunday, 28th August 2011|
|Matinees:||Saturday and Sunday 2.30pm|
|Evenings:||Tuesday to Sunday 7.30pm|
|Running Time:||2 hours 45 minutes|
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