FELA! To Perform At The Village Voice OBIE Awards 5/17

By: Apr. 21, 2010
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The Village Voice announced today that the hit Broadway musical FELA! will perform at the 55th Annual Village Voice OBIE Awards on Monday, May 17, 2010, at Webster Hall. FELA!-which is produced by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, among others-is a musical based on the life and music of the iconic African composer and performer Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

In full costume, members of the vibrant cast-including 2009 OBIE winner Sahr Ngaujah in the title role of Fela-will perform two numbers: Everything Scatter, the show's opening, and Yellow Fever. The Fela! band is made up of members of Antibalas, a Brooklyn-based Afrobeat music collective that has won national acclaim.

FELA!, which began life Off-Broadway in 2008, is currently enjoying a critically acclaimed run at Broadway's EuGene O'Neill Theatre On Broadway. Ngaujah, who plays the title role, won the 2009 OBIE Award for his performance. Featuring a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the show is choreographed and directed by Bill T. Jones, a 2008 Obie Award winner for his work on Spring Awakening. When it transferred to Broadway, FELA received more acclaim than any other musical this season.

"We are thrilled to welcome the cast and music of Fela! to the 2010 Village Voice OBIE Awards," said Rosemary Raposo, Village Voice Event Director. "Having won an OBIE in the past during its Off-Broadway run, this special performance-featuring two rare dance performances-will add to the wonderful, celebratory evening honoring Off-Broadway."

For more information about FELA! please visit www.FelaOnBroadway.com
The OBIES will be co-hosted by Anika Noni Rose and Michael Cerveris. The awards and the entertainment will be presented by J. Smith Cameron, Viola Davis, Marin Ireland, Linda Lavin, Sam Rockwell, Michael Shannon, Kerry Washington, Lillias White and Jennifer Westfeldt. Fela! Lillias White. The evening will culminate with a celebratory after-party featuring live music, art, and complimentary beverages, all to celebrate this year's honorees. More information on the after-party will be made available soon at obies.villagevoice.com and on Facebook at

Tickets for The Village Voice's 55th annual OBIE Awards are $25 and on sale now through Brown Paper Tickets.

Official sponsors confirmed for the 2010 OBIE Awards include Stella Artois.

This year's charitable partner of the OBIE Awards is Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theater community, since 1988 BC/EFA has raised over $175 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States. A portion of proceeds from the 2010 OBIES will be donated to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Visit www.broadwaycares.org for more information.

FELA! features an international cast led by Sahr Ngaujah (recipient of an OBIE Award for his performance in the title role Off-Broadway) and Kevin Mambo (MTC's Ruined), alternating in the role of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. OBIE and Tony Award-winner Lillias White plays Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti (Fela's mother), and Saycon Sengbloh (Hair) plays Sandra, Kuti's love interest. The company also includes Corey Baker, Hettie Vyrine Barnhill, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Elasea Douglas, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Catherine Foster, Rasaan-Elijah "Talu" Green, Shaneeka Harrell, Chanon Judson, Abena Koomson, Ismael Kouyate, Gelan Lambert, Farai Malianga, Shakira Marshall, Afi McClendon, Adesola Osakalumi, Jeffrey Page, Daniel Soto, Jill M. Vallery, J.L. Williams, Iris Wilson, and Aimee Graham Wodobode. Scenic and costume design is by Marina Draghici, lighting design is by Rob Wierzel, sound design is by Rob Kaplowitz, and projection design is by Peter Nigrini. Musical arrangements and additional music by AaRon Johnson and Jordan Mclean. Jim Lewis provided additional lyrics.

FELA! is produced by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Roy Gabay, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Edward Tyler Nahem, Slava Smolokowski, Chip Meyrelles/Ken Greiner, Douglas G. Smith, Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glazer, Daryl Roth/True Love Productions, Susan Dietz/Mort Swinsky, and Knitting Factory Entertainment. In association with Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson.

About The Village Voice:
Founded by Dan Wolf, Ed Fancher, and Norman Mailer in October 1955, The Village Voice introduced free-form, high-spirited, and passionate journalism into the public discourse. As the nation's first and largest alternative newsweekly, the Voice maintains the same tradition of no-holds-barred reporting and criticism it embraced when it first began publishing. The recipient of three Pulitzer prizes, the National Press Foundation Award, and the George Polk Award, among others, the Voice has earned a reputation for its groundbreaking investigations of New York City politics, and is regarded as the premier expert on New York's cultural scene. Writing and reporting on local and national politics, with opinionated arts, culture, music, dance, film, and theater reviews, daily web dispatches, comprehensive entertainment listings, and unrivaled classifieds, the Voice is the authoritative source on all that is New York.

The Village Voice has created such celebrated events as the OBIE Awards, the Siren Music Festival, and Choice Eats, as well as producing the most anticipated issues and guides of the year, including the annual Pazz and Jop music poll, Best of NYC, and the paper's Spring, Summer, and Fall Preview guides. The Voice is New York's most influential alternative newspaper, both in print and online at www.villagevoice.com, where the site averages 2 million unique users each month.

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