*Thanks to producers Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, the musical “Fela” has returned to Los Angeles, opening with a bang at the exquisite Ahmanson Theater last Friday.
Celebrities and patrons packed the house for a spirited experience that engaged the audience from start to finish. It was purely the art of storytelling that morphed into a theatrical jam session filled with the controversial history of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.
The national touring production of the hit award winning Broadway musical features Adesola Osakalumi in the starring role of Fela Kuti and Destiny’s Child superstar Michelle Williams in the role of Sandra Isadore. The stage pulsates with great music as the audience is drawn back into time and into The Shrine, the juke joint nestled in Lagos, Nigeria in the 1970’s where Fela honed his signature Afro beats, engaged in a lascivious lifestyle and waged his political platform. Fela is based on a true story of Kuti, who died in 1997 in Nigeria.
A strong storyline is fiercely delivered by Osakalumi, whose energy is electric! Michelle Williams’ delicate voice and sensuous nature was a nice complement to the red hot vibrations from a sea of erotic dancers who gyrated throughout the production much to the delight of the audience. Biceps and backsides shrouded in African garb decorated the tale of an unbridled Fela, who loved indiscriminately and made uncompromising outcries against the oppressive military dictatorship that ruled Nigeria at the time.
Outstanding performance kudos also go to Duain Richmond, Rasaan-Elijah “Talu” Green, Ismael Kouyate, Gelan Lambert and Melanie Marshall, who starred as Fela Kuti’s mother. The entire dance ensemble and band are all deserving of four star commendations. Together with the directorial and choreographic genius of Bill T. Jones, this was a Nigerian soul filled party that descended upon downtown Los Angeles. Fans need not have foreknowledge of Fela Kuti to thoroughly enjoy this show. If they do it’s a plus, if not it’s an exciting discovery. Fela is based on the book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones.
Fela is showing now through May 5th 2013 at The Ahmanson Theatre. Tickets are available now by calling CTG Audience Services at (213) 972-4400, or online by clicking here.
For groups, please call (213) 972-7231, and for the deaf community, the information and charge number is TDD (213) 680-4017. Tickets are also available at the box office at 135 N. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, Ca. 90012 (Call for box office hours.) Fela is presented by The Center Theater Group and is also produced by Ruth and Stephen Hendel, The National Theatre of Great Britian, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fela Broadway LLC, Edward Tyler Nahem and Knitting Factory Entertainment.