Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Did You Know Who Fela Was?

I sure didn’t. I mean…what a life!

My favorite part of the play was when he explained how he put the music together. It’s African drums with Cuban horns and then American Funk---it’s Afrobeat.

Plus, it’s not only brilliant music pastiche, the shit got political.

I walked into the theatre having no idea what I was getting into.

Bill T. Jones choreographed and directed and even wrote (along with Jim Lewis). They used the original music and lyrics of Fela Aninkulapo-Kuti. In essence, this play is jukebox musical meets polemic biopic. That might sound awful, but it is anything but. Bill T. Jones is an award winning genius. Look him up. I have met him a couple of times. He is tall and in charge in the greatest way.

The set, lighting and costume designs are so damn smart and beautiful.

The dancing and the music, that intoxicating Afrobeat music, the sexy smart pride, all of it, I’m all for it. And you might as well be, too…because if you let yourself experience this great thing, you will be so much happier.

The cast is past solid, they are spectacular. And when Momma riffs a cappella for what feels like three minutes, when the music returns, she has not flattened, not a hair, you could fall down.

Fela started as a musician and got worked up into being very political. He suffered at the corrupt hands of the horrendous Nigerian government.

Sure, you could save your money and miss this and add it to the other cash you are saving for a trip to Madrid, but I think this is better. (When you see the play, you will get the Madrid joke.)

If you do not live near New York, well, I am certain there will be a very cool movie made of this.

This review is not a scam email asking you to give me money.

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