FELA! The Musical continues the Afrobeat invasion of North America with a run at the Cutler Majestic Theatre, opening today April 24th through May 6th (full details at bottom, get tix at artsemerson.org). Interest in the Fela phenomenon appears only to be growing–case in point, the interview with FELA! actress/dancer/queen Nicole Chantel De Weever which ran on Jay-Z‘s Life + Times blog earlier today. Read an excerpt of her curtain’s-eye-view and read the full Q&A at L+T.
Q: How is it to dance to Fela’s music, the horns, drums, etc.?
NCDW: I’ve done a lot of musical theater, and this music is like no other in terms of performing to it. You could be deadbeat tired before the show, and as soon as the band starts that music, it’s like there’s a rush because the music is just so moving. From the time it starts, you want to move, you want to shake, you want to dance. It fills that energy that you need to do a show every night.
Q: Talk about the jobs Bill T. Jones (director and choreographer) and Sahr Ngaujah (who plays Fela) have done in their respective roles.
NCDW: Bill T. Jones is a renowned modern dance choreographer that is known to take on complex and significant projects. Everything that he touches, in my opinion, is brilliant, because he’s not afraid to tackle controversy. Fela happens to be that type of man — he’s very complex, as well as a genius, and I see Bill T. Jones in that same light. He was not only the director, he was also the choreographer. That’s a lot of responsibility. Sahr Ngaujah and Adesola Osakalumi — they both share the role of Fela — I have watched them both grow into this role. As soon as they get on stage, they transform into this character. I’ve seen how they’ve studied, watched every single documentary, sung every song. In terms of character study and development, I’ve watched them grow and unfold into this man, and it’s amazing to see someone grow into a character.
Q: What is your favorite Fela song?
NCDW: I have a few. One song that I really love is “Egbe Mio.” I also love “Water [No Get Enemy]” — gotta love “Water.” I think everybody loves “Water,” and I love “Zombie”, too. But I love Fela’s music, in general.
FELA! Boston Run
April 24th-May 6th, 2012
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston MA
Box Office: 617.824.8400