To tell you what Fela! is, we must begin by telling you what Fela! is not.
Fela! presents itself as a multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway production that recalls the life of Fela Kuti, the creator of the Afrobeat sound. Life was a party for Kuti until he incorporated lyrics in his music that exposed the corruption of the Nigerian dictatorships and addressed the suffering of the Nigerian people.
In actuality, Fela! is trippy time travel; you don’t see Fela!, you become a part of it, and it becomes a part of you.
Like any trippy time travel experience, there’s pulsating music, rhythmic dancers, bright lights, jaw-dropping special effects, glorious costumes, a magnetic goddess (Michelle Williams), and a hypnotic ringmaster (Adesola Osakalumi) that reel you in and never let you go.
Like any good ringmaster, Osakalumi teases until he delivers the great reveal: Fela Kuti was cut from the same cloth as the dozens of revolutionaries that walked the earth before him. Fela! the multiple Tony award winning Broadway production, captures his glory and fury; celebration and sadness in this retelling of one man’s journey that is not as historical as you’ve been led to believe.
Fela! is here and now.
In reality, Fela’s world is closer to you than the warmth of your own breath—and this interactive experience will stay with you until your last one.
See Fela! The Musical at the Arie Crown Theater until February 23rd.
Special thanks to Jada Russell and our fellow Chicago Host Committee members. P.S. Great meeting you, Adero-Zaire Green! :0)