Center Theatre Group celebrated the Los Angeles engagement of Fela!, which opened at The Ahmanson Theatre on December 14, and plays through January 22, 2012. The show is directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, with a book by Jim Lewis and Jones.
Fela! is about Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's controversial life as artist, political activist, and revolutionary musician. It features his rousing music performed live onstage by Antibalas and other members of the NYC Afrobeat community, under the direction of Aaron Johnson. The production also features musical arrangements and additional music by Johnson and Jordan McLean.
The cast features Sahr Ngaujah and Adesola Osakalumi alternating as the title role of Fela, Melanie Marshall as Funmilayo, Paulette Ivory as Sandra, Rasaan-Elijah "Talu" Green as Djembe-'Mustafa,' Ismael Kouyaté as Ismael and Gelan Lambert as J.K./Tap Dancer/Egungun. In addition, the ensemble includes Sherinne Kayra Anderson, Jonathan Andre, Cindy Belliot, Nandi Bhebhe, Catia Mota Da Cruz, Nicole Chantal De Weever, Jacqui Dubois, Poundo Gomis, Wanjiru Kamuyu, Oneika Phillips, Thierry Picaut, Jermaine Rowe, Daniel Soto, Adé Chiké Torbert, Jill Marie Vallery, Iris Wilson and Aimee Graham Wodobode.
Among the opening night guests were Jason Alexander, Debbie Allen, Bill Bellamy, Jack Betts, Jeana Garcia, Maija Garcia, Cory Hardrict, Stephen Hendel, Thelma Houston, Sandra Iszadore, Robbie Jones, Tony Okungbowa, CCH Pounder, Kim Raver, Doris Roberts, Herbert Siguenza, and Lesley Ann Warren.