×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Fela!’ flying to Broadway

Off Broadway musical heading to Eugene O'Neill

The much-discussed Broadway transfer of Off Broadway buzz magnet “Fela!” is now official: Producers have confirmed a fall opening for the musical at the Eugene O’Neill Theater.

The bio-tuner about Afrobeat musician and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti won strong reviews when it played 37 Arts in an extended run last summer, and this spring went on to pick up legit kudos including a Lucille Lortel for musical and an Obie for thesp Sahr Ngaujah, who originated the role of Kuti and returns to play the part on the Main Stem.

Plot follows not only Fela’s musical career — in which he combined jazz, funk and African traditions to become a pioneer in world music — but also his personal life and work as an activist opposing the corrupt military government of post-colonial Nigeria.

Conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Steve Hendel, show has a book by Lewis and Jones and is choreographed and helmed by Jones, who picked up a 2007 Tony as choreographer of “Spring Awakening.”

Tuner’s score, comprising Kuti tunes, is performed by Brooklyn band Antibalas, led by Aaron Johnson.

Hendel produces with Ruth Hendel (“Mary Stuart,” “33 Variations”) and Roy Gabay (“The Little Dog Laughed”). The pool of investors is reportedly likely to include big-name contempo musicians such as Alicia Keys, Beyonce and Jay Z.

“Fela!” begins previews Oct. 19 ahead of a Nov. 23 opening.

Popular on Variety

More Legit

  • Broadway-Breakfast-Split

    Variety to Celebrate Second Business of Broadway Breakfast With Thomas Schumacher, Diane Paulus and Diablo Cody

    Variety has announced the lineup for its second annual Business of Broadway breakfast presented by City National Bank. Joining the breakfast on Oct. 7 is the president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher, who will take part in the event’s keynote conversation. In his position, Thomas oversees the company’s worldwide stage productions, which [...]

  • Sue Wagner John Johnson

    Tony-Winning Producers Sue Wagner and John Johnson Announce New Venture, Wagner Johnson Productions

    Sue Wagner and John Johnson, seven-time Tony award-winning producers, announced Wednesday that they have embarked on a new theatrical business venture, Wagner Johnson Productions. Under the name, they will produce and general manage a wide scope of theater productions. One of Wagner Johnson Productions’ current projects is a musical rendition of “Almost Famous,” which will [...]

  • Sam Rockwell and Laurence Fishburne

    Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne Starring in Broadway Revival of 'American Buffalo'

    Laurence Fishburne and Sam Rockwell will star in an upcoming Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “American Buffalo.” The show marks Rockwell’s first appearance on the Great White Way since his 2014 performance in the revival of Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love.” The five-year absence saw him pick up an Oscar for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, [...]

  • Secret Derren Brown review

    Broadway Review: 'Derren Brown: Secret'

    Audiences love to be fooled, whether it’s with clever plotting with a twist, the arrival of an unexpected character or even a charming flimflam man with a British accent. The latter is Derren Brown, and he’s entertaining audiences for a limited run at the Cort Theatre, where he is playing head-scratching mind games and other [...]

  • Matthew Broderick, Sarah Jessica ParkerNew York

    Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker to Reunite on Broadway for 'Plaza Suite'

    Real-life couple Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker are hitting the Broadway stage again for a reboot of the late Neil Simon’s 1968 play “Plaza Suite.” The staging will mark the Broadway directorial debut of Tony award-winner John Benjamin Hickey. Set in New York City’s Plaza Hotel in Suite 719, “Plaza Suite” is comprised of [...]

  • Derren Brown

    Listen: Derren Brown Spills His Broadway 'Secret'

    Derren Brown has spent a lot of his career performing magic shows on theater stages — but he’ll be the first to tell you that magic usually doesn’t make for great theater. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “If you’re a magician of any sort, you can make stuff happen with a click of your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content