The Shakespeare Theatre Company kick-starts the new year with the return of FELA! After a sold-out run in 2011, the hit Broadway musical returns to STC's Sidney Harman Hall (610 F Street NW) from January 29 – February 10, 2013. Presented by Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Ruth and Stephen Hendel, FELA! is directed and choreographed by Tony Award® winner Bill T. Jones. Adesola Osakalumi will star as Kuti alongside a cast combining the toast of Broadway and members of the American and European casts.
FELA! began as an Off-Broadway show at 37 Arts in New York, N.Y., before its popularity moved it quickly to open on Broadway in 2009. Since then, FELA! has brought audiences to their feet across the U.S., in D.C. and abroad. STC Managing Director Chris Jennings says, "Despite an historic sell out run when we presented FELA! the first time, our schedule did not allow us to extend the run. We are therefore thrilled to have this amazing piece of music, theatre and dance return to D.C."
FELA!, the winner of three Tony Awards®, is the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti, whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. Inspired by his mother, a civil rights champion, he defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. FELA! is a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, featuring Fela Kuti's captivating music and the visionary direction and choreography of Bill T. Jones. Jones says of the production, "One has to experience it as much with one's hips as one's ears, eyes and mind."
The production is part of the STC Presents Series which presents world class international productions to theatregoers in D.C. STC's Artistic Director Michael Kahn declared, "We intend to bring in the most innovative and highest quality of work. Our goal is to make sure we're presenting the best of many kinds of performances, the best of their fields, and I feel our STC Presents Series is just that." Other presentations in the STC Presents Series for the 2012-2013 Season include Black Watch and The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart from The National Theatre of Scotland and Les Liaisons Dangereuses from the Théâtre de l'Atelier in Paris, France.