After winning over audiences in the US and UK for the past two years, Fela! is coming full cycle. The musical based on the life of late Nigerian musician and political figure Fela Anikulapo-Kuti make its debut in Lagos, Nigeria in April.
The show’s production team have been in talks to take the show to Nigeria for sometime now, but officially confirmed yesterday they would be indeed returning to the country where Fela’s story takes place.
Fela! will run in Nigeria from April 20- 25 at the Eko Hotel in Lagos. According to Playbill, the Nigerian production company Broken Shackles is producing the engagement. The original Broadway cast, including Sahr Ngaujah, who plays Fela, will travel for the show.
Fela! is a lively, historical and vibrant play set in The Shrine, Fela’s nightclub, six months after the death of his mother at the hands of the government. In an interview with Agence France Presse, the musician’s daughter Yeni Kuti said that one performance of the show will also be staged at his family’s New Afrika Shrine club, which is modelled on Kuti’s original night club.
According to those organizing the show’s run, “the aim of Fela! in Lagos is to unite and connect Africans in spirit and unity, to serve as a catalyst for cultural revival in Nigeria, and to celebrate Fela Kuti, for the contribution he has made to Nigeria and the world.”
Fela was famous for his stance against Nigeria’s military governments seen in songs such as, “International Thief Thief.” He was the creator of the popular musical style, Afrobeat, and deliberately cultivated an outsider’s image. He passed away in 1997 at the age of 58.
At last year’s Tony awards, Fela! took home trophies for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design. The show’s executive producers include rapper Jay-Z, and actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and others, in association with Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.