*The exuberant music of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti will fill the Ahmanson Theatre this holiday season as the 2010 Best Musical Tony Award®-nominated musical will be presented for the first time to Los Angeles audiences, December 13, 2011, through January 22, 2012, with the opening scheduled for December 14.
“‘Fela!,’ with its irresistible music, songs and dance, is a fun and lively production to present during the holidays,” said Michael Ritchie, CTG’s Artistic Director. “We are fortunate to be able to make this change in our schedule. “Moving ‘Fela!’ to these earlier dates also allows us greater flexibility to replace ‘Funny Girl,’ which has been postponed, and present other exciting shows later in the season. We hope to make further announcements about the season in the next few weeks.”
In an effort to help its partners at CTG, the producers of “Fela!,” Shawn “Jay- Z” Carter, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Stephen and Ruth Hendel, agreed to adjust the tour for “Fela!” Though it meant rebooking some upcoming dates, “Fela!” will now travel directly to Los Angeles from San Francisco’s Curran Theatre after its closing December 11.
“Fela!,” which is based on the life of the charismatic Kuti and is highlighted by many of Kuti’s most captivating songs, has a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, additional lyrics by Jim Lewis, additional music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean, and was conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel. “Fela!” features the visionary direction and choreography of two-time Tony Award-winner Jones (“Fela!” and “Spring Awakening”), who was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2010.
A triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, “Fela!” is the true story of Kuti, who created a new type of music, Afrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with incendiary lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that rule Nigeria and much of Africa. His songs of rebellion were an inspiration to millions.
The kinetic energy pulsing from the music and dancing of “Fela!” prompted Ben Brantley of The New York Times to say “There should be dancing in the streets” when it opened on Broadway in 2009.This “singular, sensational show . . .” (Brantley) is an “. . .electroshock for the soul,” said Peter Marks of The Washington Post. Charles McNulty of the Los Angeles Times said “Fela!” is “. . .the most exuberant musical I’ve seen this fall . . . the fusion of his [Fela’s] sound is rapturously celebrated with a pinwheel parade of pelvises . . .Under [Bill T.] Jones’ inclusive vision the production becomes a party, in which the power of the people is unleashed with a contagious jiggle.” “Fela!” received a total of 11 Tony Award nominations in 2010.
CTG subscribers will be mailed tickets for their new “Fela!” dates. Single sale tickets are available NOW by calling CTG Audience Services at (213) 972-4400, in person at the CTG box office or online at www.CenterTheatreGroup.org/Fela. For groups, please call (213) 972-7231, and for the deaf community, the information and charge number is TDD (213) 680-4017.