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Samantha Williams To Host Screening Of First Amateur Production Of FELA!

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The 2019 production was produced by the Kinder High School for the Performing Arts in Houston.

Samantha Williams To Host Screening Of First Amateur Production Of FELA!

Samantha Williams (Caroline, or Change, Dear Evan Hansen) will host a free screening of the Kinder High School for the Performing Arts (Kinder HSPVA) production of FELA! on Saturday, August 8 at 6:30 pm ET/ 5:30 pm CT.

In February 2019, Kinder HSPVA in Houston, TX staged the first amateur production of the 2009 Tony-Winning Broadway musical FELA! The school collaborated with FELA!'s co-conceiver and original producer, Stephen Hendel, to mount the production.

"None of the theatrical licensing agencies were interested in FELA! When Kinder HSPVA approached me to do the show, I was thrilled that students would finally be exposed to the incredible music and inspirational, relevant story of Fela Kuti," said Hendel. "I am excited that this production will be shared with a wider audience and hope this screening can this can lead to more student productions of FELA!"

Hendel offered the school's director, Mekeva McNeil, the liberty to adapt the show for a high school cast and audience. The production featured a cast of 34, an orchestra of 18 and featured design and management by students. "28 years after Fela Anikulapo Kuti's death, this screening allows a new audience to witness his life and what it offers to the continued fight against injustice everywhere," said McNeil.

Kinder HSPVA produces an annual production to celebrate Black History month. Samantha Williams, who starred on Broadway in Dear Evan Hansen and will appear in the upcoming Caroline or Change, graduated from Kinder HSPVA in 2015. She also starred in the school's productions of Dreamgirls and The Wiz.

Williams, who also recently hosted a Black Theatre Matters discussion on Tiltify, will co-host a pre-show and intermission discussion with:

· Co-Host Alana Bright, a 2020 Kinder HSPVA graduate who appeared as Sandra in the production

· Stephen Hendel, FELA! Co-Conceiver and Producer

· Sahr Ngaujah, original Tony-nominated star of FELA!

· Mekeva McNeil, Director, Kinder HSPVA faculty member and alum,

· Justin Prescott, an HSPVA alum who made his Broadway debut in the original production of FELA! and worked with the high school to set and adapt original choreography from the show

· Students from the production - Preston Parker (Fela), Tomi Akinwade (Funmilayo), Samson Dinkins (Orchestra)

Donations will be accepted during the screening with all proceeds going to the non-profit organization HSPVA Friends to provide scholarships for current Kinder HSPVA students who have been involved in the Black History Production.

The screening will be hosted on the Broadway Jackbox Twitch page ( and Tiltify (

FELA! is based on the life of Fela Kuti, who created Afrobeat-a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies-and mixed these sensual eclectic rhythms with simple but powerful lyrics that openly assailed Nigeria's corrupt and oppressive dictatorships.

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