BN Exclusive: Award-winning Broadway Sensation FELA! makes historic arrival in Lagos – April 20th to 25th 2011

The hit Broadway musical about the life and music of Nigerian performer and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti is scheduled to be performed in Lagos, Nigeria making it the first Broadway show to be performed in Sub-Saharan Africa.

FELA!, the landmark Broadway musical, which won three Tony Awards (Broadway’s highest honor) including Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), is coming to Lagos from April 20th to 25th. It will be performed at Eko Hotel’s New Expo Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. This critically lauded musical will star its original Broadway cast with Sahr Ngaujah reprising his Tony-nominated role of Fela Kuti with music provided by the internationally renowned Antibalas as well as other members of the New York City Afro-beat community.

Concurrently with the Broadway production, FELA! opened and triumphed at London’s Royal National Theater for a three-month sold-out run. That production was nominated for three Olivier Awards, London theatre’s highest honor, including Best Musical, Best Actor (Sahr Ngaujah) and Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones). This Nigerian engagement will be the first since the closing of the Broadway and London productions and the NTLive performance which was broadcast to in 370 cinemas worldwide.

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. FELA! depicts the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afro beat rhythms ignited the spirit of empowerment and cultural awareness in a generation. It is a tale of courage, passion and love featuring Kuti’s captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Tony Award winner, Bill T. Jones. FELA! in Lagos is being produced by a Nigerian production company, Broken Shackles in conjunction with Lagos State Government.

Upon its Broadway opening Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, “There should be dancing in the streets. The hot (and seriously cool) energy that comes from the musical gospel preached by the title character of Fela! feels as if it could stretch easily to the borders of Manhattan and then across a river or two. There has never been anything on Broadway like this production.” The New York Post’s Elisabeth Vincentelli cheered, “There’s enough energy to short circuit Con Ed.” David Cote of Time Out New York, in giving it 5 stars (out of 5) raved, “Fela! is more than a musical; it’s an ecstatic phenomenon.” And Jennifer Farrar from the Associated Press exclaimed, “An exuberant celebration!

The English critics were equally effusive after the London premiere of FELA! One critic, Baz Bamigboye of The Daily Mail, summed up the critical sentiment with his review saying FELA! is a “groundbreaking show that shook Broadway and London’s Royal National Theatre to the rafters. Getting Brits to get on their feet and ‘get loose’ as Bill T. Jones puts it, was a rare feat. FELA! pulled it off by sheer exuberance and theatrical showmanship. At the same time, FELA! explored the soul of an artist and the darkness of a government that tried to block what Fela’s beam exposed.

In addition to rave reviews from critics, FELA! has also won numerous awards and received standing ovations from such personalities as Mick Jagger, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Spike Lee, Ben Okri, Janet Jackson, Denzel Washington, Professor Wole Soyinka, Robert De Niro, and Hugh Jackman. First lady Michelle Obama, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and President Obama’s Head of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano are but three of the dignitaries who have embraced this show.

Bill T. Jones, director and choreographer of FELA!, was recently honored with the prestigious Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts award along with Sir Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey. The Kennedy Center Honors are awarded annually for exemplary lifetime achievement in the performing arts. FELA! also won two Astaire Awards for its cast and choreography.

FELA! on Broadway was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. Its producers include the entertainment legends Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Will & Jada Smith.

A spokeswoman for Broken Shackles suggests that “with a series of media partners and sponsorships, 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.”
For sponsorship, advertising and brand affiliation opportunities –
For more information on FELA!
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26 Comments on BN Exclusive: Award-winning Broadway Sensation FELA! makes historic arrival in Lagos – April 20th to 25th 2011
  • glory edozien February 28, 2011 at 8:08 am


    • The Girl February 28, 2011 at 8:45 am

      Glory? Edozien?? I refuse to believe this is you!

    • Mary007 March 1, 2011 at 4:24 am

      It cant be!!! Okay I will send ypur prize

  • eleven February 28, 2011 at 8:41 am

    What else do have to say than “WOW”.. Thumbs up to us

  • Ömogé Brooklyn February 28, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I saw the one in New York and i had mixed reviews. An “A” for effort and the nostalgia it evokes. Must say, its much harder to sell it 110% to a fela fan like me who grew up in lagos….can’t seem to shake off the foreign feel. All the same, tis a must see! You go home feeling ‘liberated’

  • CC February 28, 2011 at 9:35 am

    I hope tickets are reasonably priced… they shouldn’t add Lagos reasoning to the price at all

  • Oma February 28, 2011 at 10:05 am

    heard a lot about it. Good to finally have a chance to watch it. im expectant.

  • brendz February 28, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Abeg prices o! I heard rumours of 20k plus!

  • Will February 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    How much are the tickets?

    • sola February 28, 2011 at 4:59 pm

      Regular, VIP, VVIP or Table? 🙂

  • africhika February 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    i watched it in new york. great show and the dancing is wonderful. Michelle Obama was there!

  • Lamide A. February 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Great news 🙂 I hope I’ll be able to go!

  • sallybonne February 28, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    abeg i concurr o d prices should be made so we can watch our own legend show abeg o

  • foolish talk February 28, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    fantastic!!! the accents killed me tho but thats cuz im nigerian. i bet americans and brits just think it sounds dancing was awesomeee and it was longggg but funnnnn i loved it!

  • NNENNE February 28, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Nigerian friendly prices,please? I saw it already. People, it is a must see!!!!!!!!

  • asanwam February 28, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    I saw it @ NT in London and it was fantastic,i felt truly proud of my nigerian heritage, i wish they had more nigerians in d cast,the accents was a wee bit dodgy and it was filtered and made for british audience. I really hope what they do in Lagos is more nigerian if that makes any sense

  • Kemirette March 1, 2011 at 6:45 am

    It is so ironic that foreigners are coming to act the role of Fela to his people…I wonder why we didnt think of staging the play ourselves…Wish i watched it when it was showing on Broadway…oh well!

  • NEE March 1, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    BN, Info about price please……

  • bobbydox March 1, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    all i can say is that i cant wait oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  • Will March 2, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    VIP & Regular?

  • March 2, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    FELA! in Lagos reveals ticket prices:
    General- N5,000 N10,000 N15,000
    VIP- N35,000

    More information on Ticketing available shortly.

  • Babes about Town March 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    I saw this in London in January and was hooked from start to finish. Bill T Jones has paid an oustanding tribute to an icon. Sure the accents are foreign and you have to remember that this is drama, not documentary, so there’s plenty of editing. But its heart and spirit are in the right place. Plus those dancers can truly shake yansh. I hope Naija audiences give it the credit it deserves.

  • Q March 3, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I sure will be there! and will manage the foreign accents. I will just be glad to see a stage performance! Guys check out Sefi Atta’s play – ‘The Cost of Living’ this sunday, instead of doing the movies. It will be the right event to jumpstart your week

  • dirty March 10, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    i hate it…..till dey put a nigerian 2 play fele nnot going
    not like dey would like a brit 2 play elvis

  • mma April 21, 2011 at 10:35 am

    I went ot see the first show (Wednesday 20th April) and while the show itself was really good; the organisation etc was reeedonculous!!!! It was so bad! They started 2 hours late, the VIP section turned out to be not so VIP (dont waste 35k guys!) and 10 mins to the actual start time everyone ran forward and stole everyone elses seats! So you could pay 35k and sit behind someone that paid 5k! The sound quality was poor, the ushers did nothing, the organisers did not know anything about anything…. I could just go on and on. Bottom line, if you can, this is best seen abroad. Otherwise just grit your teeth and go for the 5 or 10k (Max!) tickets!!!

  • q April 27, 2011 at 10:04 am

    Exactly wat ‘mma’ said was what happened at the April 25th evening show,at the time i got to the venue ,the only tickets available were the 15k & 35k tickets, because the online ticket bookings were no longer available.The times were also changed, the 2pm show was moved up to 12noon & the 7pm show was moved up to 5pm(tho,it didnt kick off till 6:10pm), due to the curfew(announced for the April 26th Gubernatorial & State House of Assembly elections). And then minutes before the show started, Nigerians rushed to occupy other people’s seats & from what i heard, the show in Nigeria didnt show for up to 3 hours ,which compared to other shows held elsewhere took longer. Not so many songs were performed & it definitely had a foreign feel, but the Choreography, Sound, Directing & Light Effects were flawless.Kudos to the Cast, Crew & Organizers, it was well pulled off!

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