I was very excited that a friend was able to get tickets for us to see this new musical. It tells the story of the late Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. In addition to being an innovative musician, Fela was politically active, and fought the corrupt Nigerian government. Fela was arrested and tortured many times, but he continued to use his notoriety and his music to expose governmental excess and abuse.
Fela! is more than a musical biography. It is a groundbreaking work of art. Most of the music and lyrics are Fela’s own, with some additional music written for the show. Kuti was a pioneer of the Afrobeat style of music. Accompanied by spectacular dancing and instrumentals, this exciting show is non-stop action.
The role of Fela is so demanding that two actors alternate performing the lead. We saw Kevin Mambo in the role of Fela. I have no doubt that Sahr Ngaujah is equally talented, and I’d return to see him play this part.
Fela! is fun, exciting, and heartbreaking. It moves theater a giant leap forward from the current crop of remakes and Disney musicals that dominate Broadway.