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Fela!

Sidney Harman Hall
610 F Street NW Washington

FELA! 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.

Presented by Shakespeare Theatre Company

Thru - Oct 9, 2011

Tuesdays: 7:30pm
Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 8:00pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:00pm & 7:30pm



Price: $25-$130

Running Time: 2 hrs, 45 minutes with 1 intermission

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  Review Round-Up

DCTheatreScene - Recommended

Fela! is all about the music and the tragically inspiring story of the legendary Nigerian musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Immensely stirring and emotional, it was a hit on Broadway, winning almost universal acclaim, and in 2010, Fela! was nominated for eleven Tony Awards and won three (best choreography and best design in costume and sound.)
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Larry Bangs


Washington Post - Recommended

"...Itís hard to recall a musical of recent vintage that conjures with such explosive imaginative energy a man, his voice and his politics. That man would be Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the late Nigerian singer-activist who pioneered his own sound, defined it as Afrobeat and used it as a powerful rhythm stick against the nationís military government."
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Peter Marks


Washington Examiner - Somewhat Recommended

"...For all its amped-up, non-linear storytelling, "Fela!" is, at times, as abstract as its music is literal, as realistic as its dancing is poetic Ī a confusing mesh of reality and fantasy. And when a show boasts producers by the likes of Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, the audience is practically built-in --yet with all of that star money backing "Fela!," the irony is that it seems a touch overproduced and, sadly, underdeveloped."
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Jolene Munch Cardoza


MetroWeekly - Recommended

"... The energy built up throughout the first act isn't sustained all the way through the second --especially in a drawn-out ''dream sequence'' of sorts (with white-costumed dancers in black light, no less) that finally resolves Fela's quest to make peace with his dead mother. But Fela! succeeds nonetheless in making you think about other, challenging political realities. And it professes the power of music to undergird life, even at its most difficult. Amen to that."
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Jonathan Padget


WeLoveDC - Highly Recommended

"...The Broadway musical that won the 2010 Tony for best Choreography certainly deserves its praises in regards to dance-but the showís music is worthy of recognition as well. Presented by the Shakespeare Theatre Company, the Broadway World Tour of Fela! opened at STCís Harmon Hall this past weekend to the fusion of Jazz, Cuban, and Big Band beats that make-up Fela Anikulapo-Kutiís iconic Afrobeat genre. When the lights went down and the sound rose up, audience members were already dancing in their seats as the stage was transformed into Kutiís nightclub, The Shrine. Fela! takes us up and down the life of Kutiís life as a Nigerian musician/ activist/social leader."
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Patrick Pho


Washingtonian - Recommended

"...Injecting politics into musicals can be a mixed bag (consider the confusing presence of Che Guevara as a narrator in Evita, or the effective subtext about immoral leadership and shameless populism in Wicked). Lucky then that Fela!, currently playing at Shakespeare Theatre Companyís Sidney Harman Hall, has such gorgeous music to work with from the oeuvre of Fela Kuti, Nigerian musician, creator of Afrobeat, and political activist. Kutiís engaging, joyful compositions are so foot-tappingly contagious that weíre not prompted to dig too deeply into the arguably questionable morality of their creator."
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Sophie Gilbert


BrightestYoungThings - Highly Recommended

"...With explosive dancing, infectious music, and acting you can forget is acting, Fela! doesn't let you stay content just to watch and listen. The message is clear: the hope of music only becomes powerful when you participate in its chorus and take it home with you. Fela! is all shades of joyous, but there just aren't enough synonyms for "exuberant" to do this show justice. This will have to suffice instead: please go see this show."
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Ali Goldstein


Washington Informer - Highly Recommended

"... Amazingly directed and choreographed by the eclectic, Tony-Award-winning Bill T. Jones, Fela's story is a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love. All of the elements brought to bear to deliver this phenomenon: the aforementioned rendering of Fela's actual music and Jones's choreography and staging, the costumes and technical design are unbelievably topnotch. The incorporation of multimedia communications underscores the timelessness and urgency of this story and adds to its potency."
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Michael Sainte-Andress


MD Theatre Guide - Highly Recommended

"...I wanted to dance and sing along and laugh the entire night. It didnít hit me that the show was over until I was driving home. What a way to end the night! It wouldnít be fair to categorize FELA! as a play or even a musical. This is a show with a life of its own. There is nothing around that is anything like the production of FELA! Iím sure of it. Go buy a few tickets and enjoy the last concert of a legend. "
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Ashunda Norris


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