Photo Coverage: Inside FELA!'s Opening Night Curtain Call!
Shawn 'JAY Z' Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson and The National Theatre of Great Britain present the return of the critically acclaimed, award-winning Broadway and National Theatre of Great Britain production of Fela!, which just opened last night, July 12, for a limited run of 32 performances only at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre (302 West 45th Street).
BroadwayWorld was there for the big openeing night, and we bring you photos from the first curtain call below!
Exploring the extravagant world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti, this "provocative hybrid of dance, theatre, music, biography and a party like no-other" is directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Bill T. Jones, with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones. The world renowned Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of AaRon Johnson, again perform Kuti's rousing music live onstage. Recipient of three 2010 Tony Awards (Best Choreography, Best Costumes, Best Sound Design), Fela!, featuring the music and lyrics by Fela Kuti, was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel, features additional lyrics by Jim Lewis, and additional music by AaRon Johnson and Jordan McLean. The musical is inspired by the authorized biography Fela: This Bitch of a Life by Carlos Moore.
Olivier and Tony Award-nominated actor Sahr Ngaujah leads the cast of Fela! He is joined by Melanie Marshall and Paulette Ivory, the two female stars of the Olivier-nominated National Theatre of Great Britain production. At certain performances, the title role will be played by Adesola Osakalumi and Duain Martyn.
Just before completing its 14-month, award-winning run on Broadway, Fela! simultaneously played a sold-out 9-week engagement at The National Theatre of Great Britain, becoming the first broadway show ever to both perform on the National's prestigious Olivier stage and to be featured on NTLive, where a National Theatre performance was screened in over 400 cinemas in 20 countries. Following that success, the production traveled to Lagos, Nigeria where it became the first Broadway show in history to play in Africa with its original cast. An acclaimed run during the 2011 Holland Festival followed, winning praise from Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, then Fela! returned to London for a summer run at Saddler's Wells. While back in London, members of the company performed for Prince Charles at a reception at St James's Palace. In September 2011, Fela! returned to the United States, opening in Washington, DC and went on to play hit runs in several cities including San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta and a six-week sold-out engagement at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. After this summer's return to Broadway, Fela! will continue its world tour with stops in Australia, Japan, a return to Africa, a reprise engagement at the Ahmanson in May 2013 followed by the Chekov Festival (Moscow, Russia) in June 2013 and numerous other cities around the world still to be announced.
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 scenic design and Tony Award-winning costumes are by Marina Draghici, the Tony Award-winning sound design by Robert Kaplowitz.Lighting design is by Robert Wierzel and make-up & hair design is by Cookie Jordan.
Fela! is produced by Shawn 'Jay-Z' Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, The National Theatre of Great Britain, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Roy Gabay, Edward Tyler Nahem, Ahmir 'Questlove' Thompson, SlavaSmolokowski, Chip Meyrelles/Ken Greiner, Douglas G. Smith, Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glazer, Daryl Roth/True Love Productions, Susan Dietz/Mort Swinsky and Knitting Factory Entertainment.
Performances play through August 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre, 302 West 45th Street at 8th Avenue, (The box office of the Al Hirschfeld Theatre will open on Monday, June 25 at 10am.) The performance schedule is as follows: Monday, Tuesday at 7pm; Wednesday at 2pm and 7:30pm; Thursday at 7pm; Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 2pm & 8pm. DARK SUNDAY. Tickets for performances July 9 – July 12 are $47 - $92. For performances July 13 – August 4, tickets are $47 - $132. All prices include a $2 facility fee.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.
Sahr Ngaujah & Company
Sahr Ngaujah & Company