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Eugene O’Neill Theatre
230 West 49th Street, New York, NY

Following a celebrated Off-Broadway run, the exciting new musical Fela! comes to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening), this vibrant show is about legendary Afrobeat musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His story is told through Jones’s amazing dances and through Fela’s own music, which is recreated live onstage by the Brooklyn band Antibalas.

Quick Facts about the Fela Kuti:

Born: October 15, 1938, Abeokuta, Nigeria
Died: August 02, 1997, Lagos, Nigeria

Fela was born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria.

His family were middle class. His parents were activists, teachers and ministers.  His siblings were doctors.

His  music changed the way the world looked at Africa artistically.

Quick Facts about Fela! the musical:

The Meat of the Show:
Fela! is a musical.  It tells the story of Afrobeat music legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who was also a political activist. This new musical re-creates his extraordinary life and music in a highly theatrical show filled with energetic song and dance.

The Dream Maker:
Ruth & Stephen Hendel and Roy Gabay present the world premiere of FELA!, a new musical based on the life of groundbreaking African composer, performer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.  Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening) with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, Fela! will feature Kuti’s rousing music performed live onstage by Antibalas and other members of the New York Afrobeat community.

Fela! is directed and choreographed by Tony® Award winner Bill T. Jones with a book by Jim Lewis, audiences are welcomed into the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Bill T. Jones (Conceiver / Director / Choreographer / Book Writer) is the recipient of a 2007 Tony® Award, 2007 Obie Award, and 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation CALLAWAY Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening; the 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship; the 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for The Seven; the 2005 Wexner Prize; the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement; the Harlem Renaissance Award; the 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize; and the 1994 MacArthur “Genius” Award.  In 2000, The Dance Heritage Coalition named Mr. Jones “An Irreplaceable Dance Treasure.”  Mr. Jones choreographed and performed worldwide with his late partner, Arnie Zane, before forming the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982, which is currently celebrating its 25th Anniversary.  He has created more than 100 works for his company.

JIM LEWIS (Conceiver / Book Writer / Additional Lyrics) Broadway credits include Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Tony®, Drama Desk Nominations), Dangerous Games (with Graciela Daniele), Tango Apaisionado.  Dance/Opera: Paul Dresher’s The Tyrant; Ballet Hispanico’s Nightclub; Philip Glass’ Les Enfants Terribles (BAM); PastFORWARD (Mikhail Baryshnikov, BAM).  Translations: Ionesco’s The Chairs; Ibsen’s Lady From The Sea.  Dramaturge: House Arrest (Anna Deavere Smith); Dream On Monkey Mountain (Bill T. Jones); Art Spiegelman’s Drawn To Death; Dido And Aeneas (Spoleto); Bill T. Jones 20th Anniversary Still/Here (BAM).  He is currently working on This Beautiful City with The Civilians, touring nationally with an NYC premiere set for January 2009 at The Vineyard.

ANTIBALAS (Arrangements / Musicians) Credited with introducing Afrobeat to a new generation, this Brooklyn-based collective has released four critically-acclaimed albums since forming in 1998, and can been heard on numerous Afrobeat compilations.  Antibalas has performed more than 700 concerts around the world including appearances at the Coachella, Newport and the Montreux Festivals.

RUTH and STEPHEN HENDEL (Co-Conceiver / Producer) Ruth’s Broadway credits include: In The Heights; Passing Strange; Legally Blonde; Kiki & Herb Alive on Broadway; High Fidelity; The Lieutenant of Inishmore; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels; Caroline, Or Change; A Raisin in the Sun; Golda’s Balcony; Frozen; ‘night Mother; Steel Magnolias; Barefoot in the Park; Metamorphoses.  Off-Broadway: Altar Boyz; Our Lady of 121st Street; The Exonerated; Red Light Winter; tick tick…Boom!.  Los Angeles: As Much As You Can.  Ruth Hendel is on the boards of the LAByrith Theater, The Play Company and the Yale School of Drama Leadership Committee; She is vice-chair, and Stephen is Treasurer of the Eugene O’Neill Theater in Waterford, CT.  Stephen also s erves on the boards of The New Group, The Culture Project, Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Dance Company and on the Board of Visitors of the Yale School of Music.  Ruth and Stephen have a wonderful family and love them very much.

ROY GABAY (Producer / General Manager). Credits include: The 39 Steps; The Little Dog Laughed; Metamorphoses; Frozen; A View From the Bridge (Tony® Award); How I Learned to Drive (Pulitzer Prize); Wit (Pulitzer Prize); Three Tall Women (Pulitzer Prize).  Upcoming: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf with India Arie; Behind the Limelight; Masks Outrageous; Cassandra’s Angel; Who’s Your Mommy?

Fela! will feature a multi-cultural cast led by Sahr Ngaujah in the title role and Abena Koomson as his mother, with Anne Andre, Corey Baker, Calvin C. Booker, Lauren Deveaux, Nicole Chantal DeWeever, Rujeko Dumbutshena, Aimee Graham, Talu Green, Karma Mayet Johnson, Ismael Kouyate, Maia McKinney, Marcus Phillips, Daniel Soto, Sparlha Swa, Jill M. Vallery and Iris Wilson.  Scenic and costume design is by Marina Draghici; lighting design by Rob Wierzel; sound design by Rob Kaplowitz; and projection design by Peter Negrini.  The Musical Director is Aaron Johnson.