Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The other show that my niece and I saw was Fela!, which we absolutely loved (she was skeptical at first, but came around). And kudos to Jay-Z, and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith for producing it. I only hope they produce more theatre as good as this. I would have given Fela! Best Musical in a minute.
I'd heard an interview on Playbill with Lillias White when she was in rehearsal for the Off-Broadway incarnation of it, which sounded really intriguing. Still, even though Bill T. Jones isn't a dance-y theatre choreographer (Spring Awakening is proof of that), I'm not big on dance shows. We were fortunate enough to see Kevin Mambo (who I loved in Ruined) in the lead. What an incredible actor, and in that difficult a role, he barely had a moment's rest other than intermission. Wonderful acting, dancing (it look me back to African class in grad school), and music (with the onstage band in view most of the time), a story that's really about something: not only the biography of Fela Kuti, but the history of Nigeria and the never-ending legacy of colonialism. If you doubt me about colonialism, look at sub-Saharan Africa, India, Pakistan, the Middle East....
Marina Draghici (whose work was unknown to me) has designed a wonderful set that comes out into the house and by way of lights and projections, changes constantly. It's really fantastic. I could not recommend it more highly.