London FELA! To be Filmed and Broadcast
Audiences around the world will be able to experience FELA!, the new hit Broadway musical about the life and music of legendary Nigerian performer and political activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, when it is broadcast in January 2011 on movie screens around the globe as part of NT Live, the initiative by London's National Theatre to broadcast live performances of plays to a world audience. The performance will take place during FELA!'s engagement at London's National Theatre which begins in November of this year. The NT Live broadcast will enable audiences everywhere to experience the excitement of this critically acclaimed production before they can behold the phenomenon of FELA! in person on the upcoming American and international tour.
NT Live performances are filmed at The National Theatre in high definition and broadcast via satellite to 300 cinemas and performing arts centres in 22 countries, live in Europe and some US cities, and time-delayed in countries further afield.
CAMI Spectrum's Margaret Selby is facilitating the American and international tour of FELA! which will begin in Autumn 2011, months after the NT Live broadcast. She is "looking forward to working with local theatre presenters both in the United States and abroad to use this broadcast as an innovative tool to excite their theatre goers to come and experience what Broadway audiences and critics have been raving about."
FELA!, the story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation, is a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, featuring Kuti's captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Tony® Award-winner Bill T. Jones. Inspired by his mother, a civil rights champion, Kuti defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.
The Broadway production of FELA! is presented by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith and directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening). FELA! opened on Broadway to rave reviews on November 23 and went on to receive more Tony nominations than any new musical this season. The partnership with The National Theatre began this spring when it was announced that FELA! would open in the prestigious Olivier Theatre in November 2010, while the Broadway production continued, marking the first time the National has ever produced a show currently running on Broadway.
FELA! is the recipient of eleven 2010 Tony® Award nominations, the most nominations of any new musical on Broadway, including Best Musical, Best Performance by a Leading Actor (Sahr Ngaujah), Best Performance by a Featured Actress (Lillias White), Best Direction of a Musical (Bill T. Jones), Best Choreography (Bill T. Jones), Best Book of a Musical (Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones), Best Orchestrations (AaRon Johnson), Best Scenic Design of a Musical (Marina Draghici), Best Costume Design of a Musical (Marina Draghici), Best Lighting Design of a Musical (Robert Wierzel) and Best Sound Design of a Musical (Robert Kaplowitz).
The National Theatre, founded in 1963, and established on the South Bank of the River Thames in London in 1976, has three theatres - the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe. It presents an eclectic mix of new plays and classics, with seven or eight productions in repertory (sharing the stages) at any one time. The National aims constantly to re-energise the great traditions of the British stage and to expand the horizons of audiences and artists alike, and aspires to reflect in its repertoire the diversity of the nation's culture. With its extensive programme of Platform performances, backstage tours, foyer music, exhibitions, and free outdoor entertainment the National recognises that the theatre doesn't begin and end with the rise and fall of the curtain. By touring - and now, NT Live - it shares its work with audiences in the UK and abroad. The second season of NT Live will feature five productions from the National, beginning in fall 2010.
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.
NT Live events are distributed outside the U.K. through New York-based BY Experience, Inc, the pioneer of global live "alternative content" digital cinema events. For more information visit www.byexperience.net
For a full list of participating locations and ticket information visit www.ntlive.com