*Yes that’s right, the legendary diva Patti LaBelle will be cast as the mother of the main character for the Broadway musical, Fela! She will start her new role on Sept. 14 and will continue the part until Jan. 2, 2011.
“I am both thrilled and honored,” LaBelle said. “After seeing the show, I was struck by the choreography and work of Bill T. Jones, and the passion and joy that overflows from the stage. Fela’s mother, Funmilayo, was a strong, truly inspiring woman and I am so privileged to be able to pay tribute to her on the Broadway stage.”
Former “Funmilayo,” Lillias White, will be performing for the last time in the musical on Sept. 12, as she will take a brief hiatus before taking the show overseas.
Conceived and helmed by Jones, the Tony Award winning choreographer, ‘Fela!’ chronicles the life of Afrobeat music pioneer and activist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. The show, which is produced by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Stephen Hendel and Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design.
It is currently playing at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre (230 West 49th Street).