Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Image via Dancing Cheetah.

My husband and I saw Fela! this past weekend--it’s the most dynamic musical I’ve seen on Broadway. Period. The show flaunts Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s musical innovation and heroism, diversifies Broadway, and introduces new audiences to Afrobeat (a distinctive mélange of African, jazz, and funk music) as well as certain elements of Black political thought. However, the show downplays the circumstances surrounding his complicated (and somewhat controversial) personal life and death from AIDS. That said, the show succeeds in its illustration of Fela as an exhibitionist, provocateur, and capricious “black power man”. Sahr Ngaujah, who originated the lead role in the Off Broadway production delivers a phenomenal, passionate performance. The production feels like a concert and features members of Antibalas who, starting December 3rd, will begin a late night residency at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.

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