Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti was something of an enigma in Nigeria in the 1970s. Born to an aristocratic family and schooled in London, Kuti eschewed privileged life to reside with people suffering and combating a government indifferent to their needs. Mixing soul, jazz, funk, and indigenous rhythms, his music became an important platform for challenging the political will of his nation. For this, Kuti was beaten, jailed, had his property destroyed, and ultimately was exiled.
Tony Award-winning director-choreographer Bill T. Jones samples a fragment of Kuti’s remarkable, turbulent life in Fela! With Antibalas as the on-stage band showcasing many of Kuti’s most famous works, including “Zombie” and “Water No Get Enemy,” a vibrant stage set, and an energetic cast featuring Michelle Williams (Destiny’s Child), this musical deftly captures full-on the intensity of Kuti’s life.