Results 1 to 20 of 20

Thread: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

  1. #1
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,675

    Smile Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Okay, hear me out. I know this isn’t the sort of thing we post about on this board, but on Friday I saw Fela! at the Ahamanson Theatre in LA and what I thought would be a fun evening with some good music and sexy “tribal” dancing turned out to be one of the most thrilling theatrical experiences I’ve ever had. And more relevant to this board, I think it’s a show that will have enormous appeal to many of you – even those of you who never go to the theatre.

    In case you’re not familiar, Fela! is a Broadway musical (wait! don’t leave yet!) about the life and music of the great Fela Kuti, the godfather of Afrobeat. As a fan of Fela Kuti’s music, I went into this production with some trepidation about what Broadway folk would do to his music; I thought it might get too... polished. But they didn’t Disney-fy, or Cirque-du-Soleil, or even Broadway-fy Fela’s music. In fact, the show originated Off-Broadway and it still retains some of that grungy downtown charm. The music is played by a magnificent, red-hot 10-piece on stage band made up of members of Antibalas, one of the biggest names in Afrobeat music these days (I think they played Coachella a few years ago.)



    The whole thing is directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, one of the great living geniuses of modern dance. He and his design team have infused Fela’s music with a theatricality that tells his life story and speaks to his political and social work without ever getting didactic. The lighting and projections are just stunning and somehow never overpower or overwhelm Fela’s music. The ensemble is made up of dancer/singers from all over the world. They’re truly astonishing. They sing beautifully and evocatively and authentically (no Broadway style belters). They dance Jones’ inventive choreography with a joyous fervor and charged eroticism you rarely see in your average musical. They're also beautiful to look at. You'll feel a little self-conscious about your body after watching them gyrate all night!




    Sahr Ngaujah, the original Fela Kuti from Broadway, is back playing Fela here and the man is a revelation. He strikingly resembles Kuti, but his performance is not an imitation or an act of mimicry, but rather a theatrical tribute to the man. He’s so passionate and energetic. He has this raw physicality and this amazing (sometimes imposing) physical presence. He sings, dances, plays the sax and guides us through the 3 hour show.




    Melanie Marshall plays his mother and though it’s clearly a supporting role, she almost steals the whole damn show with her singing. I’ve never heard a voice like hers. Like some heavenly mix of Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson and Leontyne Price. She manages to sing operatically and soulfully (and I mean SOULFULLY) at the same time. The audience was cheering after every number in the show, but after her first number, instead of cheers you heard gasps. Literal gasps because people couldn’t believe such an otherworldly sound was coming out of a human being.




    It’s only playing LA for one more week. Then, the tour continues across the US. Trust me. This is not just a concert, and it’s certainly not some bullshit musical like Wicked or Rent. I see now why Fela’s sons, Femi and Seun, have supported this show. There will never be anything like this again. If it’s playing nearby, go see it. Here’s what Bill T. Jones did with "Zombie"…



    Tour dates, tickets etc: http://www.felaonbroadway.com/
    Last edited by RageAgainstTheAoki; 01-15-2012 at 01:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Loveable Curmudgeon TallGuyCM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Hermosa Beach
    Posts
    19,951

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Oh nice, it's here for another week still. That is very tempting.
    8/21 - The Zombies - Santa Monica Pier
    8/22 - Slint - El Rey (?)
    8/23-24 - FYF Fest - Exposition Park
    8/28 - Ty Segall - Echo
    8/31 - Sleep - Troubadour (?)


    Quote Originally Posted by getbetter View Post
    I finally made it through a listen of Sun Kil Moon - Benji and had put it on maybe 4 times til I could finally feel mentally like, "just fuck it just let this guy blabber on" while I'm doing paperwork .
    last.fm, if you care

    Twitter, if you dare

  3. #3
    The Encyclopedia bmack86's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Bishop, CA
    Posts
    28,099

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Who wants to go tomorrow, assuming it's playing? I had been intending on going anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by canexplain View Post
    Remember Hitler? I don't but here we are again .. cr****

  4. #4
    old school whynotsmile99's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    LA, but I miss Ventura
    Posts
    5,304

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Yes, thanks for reminding me I would have missed it. It is dark tomorrow but $30 balcony seats remain for the rest of the week. Might try Wednesday
    Then I will hold you down and spit her percolations all over you until you're as greasy as the day she regrets pushing your big fat ass out her big fat cunt.

  5. #5
    old school ods..'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Las Vegas
    Posts
    5,247

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    I can vouch for this as well. One of the best shows I've seen was a performance in NY. Saur Ngaujah is incredible. Just a very fun show, dancing in my seat the whole time.

  6. #6
    Coachella Junkie SoulDischarge's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Vampire State Building
    Posts
    16,101

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Nice! I'll just see how much tickets are for the Cleveland show and . . . oh, right. Ohio.
    Quote Originally Posted by guedita View Post
    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to not give a fuck again.

  7. #7
    Coachella Junkie woogie846's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    7,660

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    I saw it once in New York and again a few weeks ago at the Ahmanson, it really is wonderful. And Antibalas kick so much ass it's ridiculous. I was a little skeptical at first as a huge Fela fan, but its a terrific tribute.

  8. #8
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,675

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    Nice! I'll just see how much tickets are for the Cleveland show and . . . oh, right. Ohio.
    It's playing Detroit. That's, what? 150 miles?


    Quote Originally Posted by ods.. View Post
    I can vouch for this as well. One of the best shows I've seen was a performance in NY. Saur Ngaujah is incredible. Just a very fun show, dancing in my seat the whole time.
    I wish I could have seen it in NY. The Ahamanson's a bit too big for the type of intimacy this show is trying to create, but they still manage to work magic at the Ahmanson. I'm traveling for work next week. I'm going to try to go back for one of the final weekend performances next Saturday or Sunday. First time in a while I've gone to the theatre and known that I had to go back at least one more time.


    Couple of tips for the SoCal folks:

    • Orchestra seats are not worth it. Mezzanine will be the best. You're still close enough, but you also get a better view of the choreography than you do down on the house/orchestra level.

    • If you can, avoid either far left or far right as you may miss some of the choreography and stage pictures. Not a deal-breaker. If far left or right is all that's available, go. You won't miss much.

    • CTG sells a limited number of $20 day-of-show tickets at the box office. If you're near downtown, you may want to try this option. It's always dependent upon availability so the earlier you get there, the more likely it is that you get tickets. I assume they're all in the balcony. The Ahmanson is big, not huge, so you should have a great time up there too.

    • Sahr Ngaujah (Fela Kuti) has an alternate. After you see the show, you'll understand why. The man's on stage at least 95% of the time. I'm sure they alternate is great, but if you want to see Sahr, you may want to call the box office first to see which performances his alternate plays.

  9. #9
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    I had to double-check that you, Rage, weren't the same person that just reviewed the LA run on a Broadway message board Tiffany reads. I guess the take-home from this is that the production is getting some great responses. EDIT: When she got home we double-checked... and I guess I was wrong and it was you? Crazy!

    Fela! on Broadway closed before I got to NYC so I missed it.

    In other Broadway in LA news in addition to The Book of Mormon opening in September y'all will get a chance to see the production of Sondheim's musical Follies I saw last night. It is running at the Ahamanson in LA but its run here is at the Marquis, one of the larger Broadway theaters so it should work. (Fela! ran at the Eugene O'Neill, which incidentally is where The Book of Mormon is (and a five minute walk from my apartment.))

    Follies is an odd musical; far from my favorite Sondheim score but with some fantastic numbers. "Who's That Woman?" is stunning; "The Girls Upstairs" also makes great use of the ghosts/echoes what with the four leads and their echoes all singing along. Jan Maxwell is the highlight of the cast; her "Could I Leave You?" is also something to behold. The only principal that is not going with the production is Bernadette Peters, but that is probably a blessing!
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 01-15-2012 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Polishing your clock?
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  10. #10
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,675

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Uh oh. Worlds are colliding!




    And Bernadette Peters disses on the Coachella board? Haaa! Now I've seen everything on here. I've always liked Peters' work, especially with Sondheim, but she's definitely a divisive figure. I thought her Gypsy performance was a stunner. People seem to love her or hate her. I'm looking forward to Follies with or without her. You rarely get to see a full (meaning full cast, full orchestra) production of his. Anyway? Quibling over Follies casting? Things got awfully gay in here. In fact, Paul Rudnick recently wrote a piece in The New Yorker in which he argued that Kinsey's scale of sexual orientation be expanded from 0 to 6 to a more expansive 0 to 24. #21?


  11. #11
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Hopefully things have cooled down a bit. We just got back from seeing the Encores! production of Merrily We Roll Along.

    This was billed as a concert performance but it was mostly staged - to be fair I haven't seen any musicals in concert before - they had costumes and actions and all. There were a few things for them to sit upon and then pianos but the backgrounds are all projected.

    I bought these tickets as Christmas presents and also bought the original cast recording to familiarize myself... and then gave in and had to give up the surprise like 3 days after I first listened to the recording. The show is that fucking catchy; I could barely contain myself from singing/humming the best bits. Despite the great songs, though, the show is a bit of a disaster that doesn't make sense and just generally works poorly. This has resulted in a lot of revisions, trying to fix the show. The biggest part about this is that they cut my /favorite part, my very favorite Sondheim bit: the slow approach of the very first "Merrily We Roll Along" chorus. That chorus is still very catchy but it loses much of the magic.

    Colin Donnell was strong as Frank. Lin-Manuel Miranda was an inspired choice for Charley; he's not the greatest singer but he's fast enough to make "Franklin Shepherd, Inc" clear and he does fantastic with "It's a Hit," naturalistically. Celia Keenan-Bolger doesn't quite have the right voice for Mary but she had her moments. Betsy Wolfe and Elizabeth Stanley put in great performances as Frank's wives.

    I would be surprised if they transfer this to Broadway as a fully produced musical, and I think I am OK with that.



    Also I am turning this into the general Broadway musical thread, which means I may post in this once I get to see Silence! or the new productions of Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar (which is across the street from Jersey Boys!)
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  12. #12
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    OH! I forgot the part of the show that worked the least for me: One of the newest things they have added are images of the major characters over the years. This is supposed to help us connect with them, to give us that context. [This is important because the show starts with everyone estranged and runs backwards, similar to Memento.]

    These supposedly vintage photos didn't work for me because, well, I have seen a few shops in my day. You can tell by the pixels. Actually on many you could tell by the fact that the head didn't fit on the body. It was suggested that they could have been purposely bad (for more amusement) but they weren't all that bad. And the one with Colin Donnell as Sondheim - I think the original was one of the many early Sondheim photos on the wall outside - was great.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  13. #13
    old school sonnyboy11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,013

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    I am going to be in NYC the week of July 4th. Besides The Wall at Yankee Stadium and maybe Shakespeare In the Park, was thinking to hit something on Broadway. Spiderman? Jersey Boys? Mary Poppins? Help a brutha out with some suggestions!
    Steve Winwood| Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds| Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds| Echo and the Bunnymen| Echo and the Bunnymen| Paul McCartney| Foxygen| FYF Fest| NIN/Soundgarden|
    Elvis Costello| Swans| Buzzcocks| King Crimson| Elton John| Kasabian| Massive Attack| Massive Attack| Slowdive| Tame Impala| Fleetwood Mac| A Winged Victory for the Sullen

  14. #14
    old school RageAgainstTheAoki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,675

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    God, you couldn't pay me to see Jersey Boys. But I suppose if you're looking to pick up a bridge and tunnel GILF, it's the place to be. I think they even let them drink in the theatre now.

    If you want to see a show before it gets to Broadway, Clybourne Park is playing it's pre-Broadway run at the Mark Taper Forum in downtown LA right now.

    • Book of Mormon - good luck getting tickets!
    • Anything Goes - if you want an old fashioned musical comedy with classic Cole Porter songs and endless rows of beautiful boys and girls tap dancing at sea.
    • Evita - first time an Argentinian has played Eva Peron. Also stars the gay guy from Menudo. No, the other one.
    • The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess - if you're familiar with the opera, you might want to avoid it. People who don't know the opera have been enraptured by the stunning score and the red hot performances at the center. Those who know (and love) the original opera don't care for the way in which the score has been Disney-fied.
    • How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying - another classic, great score
    • Once - Broadway musical version of the film
    • One Man, Two Guvnors - wildly popular comedy being import from London's West End with its original star
    • Death of a Salesman - I'm sick of this damn (great) play, but if you haven't experienced it yet, worth a shot.
    • Other Desert Cities - one of the best dramas to emerge in years. Stockard Channing and Rachel Griffiths star in this B'way production. Scheduled to play SoCal later this year, but don't know if it will be the same cast.
    • War Horse - the big and popular spectacle at Lincoln Center. But, it's coming to LA later this year, so might as well wait until then.

  15. #15
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    The Book of Mormon is indeed hilarious but yeah, you'd probably have to try day-of lottery/stand in line for standing room tickets and/or pay through the nose for extra premium seats.

    I am quite excited for Evita, especially Michael Cerveris.

    Also opening soon is Des McAnuff's revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, with a relatively unknown cast. Apparently Andrew Lloyd-Webber wanted to cast Jesus via a reality show but Tim Rice helped squash that plan. At any rate I am excited to see the multi-level/iron bar sets Des always has and how he will try set it during a war/include atomic bombs.

    Also also opening soon will be Leap of Faith, a new show, an adaptation of the Steve Martin film. Raul Esparza will be Reverend Nightengale.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  16. #16
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Thinking about it, walking out of Des McAnuff's production of Jesus Christ Superstar one of the biggest flaws with the show itself may be a key to its success. The main characters are kind of blank. Jesus never really goes on about what he's on about, even in Gethsemane, which seems like it'd be the place and Judas is a little better but he's all muddled and confused.*

    They can get away with this because the story is so famous. And, really, because people have such strong ideas about the characters having them be ciphers on stage allows us to project onto them whatever we, individually, want. Thus we can be happy, regardless of what we're on about. And so we have church groups bussed in from churches alongside a variety of less traditional followers, quasi-followers, etc.

    This production may be taking that and running. They somehow have managed to muddle the thing further, make it make less narrative sense. They also kind of missed the entire point of several key/favorite scenes:

    "The Temple"... had no customers and nothing was being sold beyond some glittery dancing ladies and leathered dancing men. The "heal me Christ" part also made no sense as Jesus went through and touched all the lepers and only when they were gone started complaining that there were too many and they were crowding him. I really enjoyed "Try It And See" if only because it was the only part of the show not taken seriously - they had a glittery piano and jazz hands - but as it was played it was once again just a famous episode with no narrative point as Herod never actually got nasty. Then there is "Superstar," Jesus's fever dream... yet other than ghost Judas - in all blue, including some great boots - everyone else was just wearing their normal drab clothes and the set was the same tiered metal levels the whole show has (and every Des production has.)

    By and large the singing was good, if a little underpowered, in part because of how loud the music was (Mary was a little weak, I couldn't hear Jesus during "Superstar" at all, etc.) Judas, however, was strong throughout; his parts of "Superstar" were the best of the show.

    It was not entirely unenjoyable but, gah. Oh, also the sound from the mics was an issue; there were quite a few pops and other artifacts. This was just a preview (they started March 1, official opening is March 22) but we can't expect them to fix/change much (other than technical things like the sound, maybe) because Des has been doing it for a while at Stratford and La Jolla, as he does, before moving it to Broadway at the Neil Simon.


    * [I also briefly considered if this all was the point, the episodic not quite a plot nature of the show and the confused/contradictory characterizations could be all there on purpose, as a commentary on the source material... but I don't think that kind of subtlety is what Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice were after.]
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  17. #17
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Also also opening soon will be Leap of Faith, a new show, an adaptation of the Steve Martin film. Raul Esparza will be Reverend Nightengale.
    Which closed after a month! I really liked it, dramatically and I enjoyed watching Raul Esparza go nuts for two hours... but I liked almost none of the songs. There were several that were downright awful. Their surprising Tonys performance (surprising that they still put it on, even with the show having closed) featured one of the best songs (no, really, the songs were that poor) and was still rather uncompelling.


    Quote Originally Posted by mountmccabe View Post
    Then there is "Superstar," Jesus's fever dream... yet other than ghost Judas - in all blue, including some great boots
    This was their Tonys performance, which is unsurprising... other than that Evita chose "And the Money Kept Rolling..." with almost no singing from Elena Roger. I still really want to see that, though.

    The Gershwin's Porgy & Bess went for a medley that went a decent ways towards making me want to see the show. I would much rather see a full operatic production but there isn't one around the block from me.

    That performance from Follies was also weird and didn't work but that had to be tough, with the show closing in LA last night but still, there are good numbers in the show, really.


    Not musical related but I think my favorite thing though, was learning that David Mamet has a new play, The Anarchist that is coming to Broadway in November. Mamet himself will direct the two-person show with Patti LuPone and Debra Winger. Hot damn I can't wait.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 06-10-2012 at 07:22 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  18. #18
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    Jared Gertner is going to be the Elder Cunningham in the national tour of The Book of Mormon; he was the understudy on Broadway and he played that role the first time I saw the show and I gotta say I liked him better than Josh Gad.

    Also now that they've replaced Elders Price and Cunningham and Nabulungi I am quite excited to go see it again to see how the new people (all making their Broadway debuts) are.


    Fun note: Jared Gertner was the actual replacement for Josh Gad as Elder Cunningham; but he took the role for just a few weeks (as planned; he had already been picked for the tour). Jared Gertner replaced Josh Gad previously as William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (though Dan Fogler originated the role).
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  19. #19
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask are writing a sequel to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

    John Cameron Mitchell will write and star in a sequel to his hit rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch, according to journalist Kevin Sessums. Hedwig composer and lyricist Stephen Trask will also write the music for the new sequel. A reading of the new production is scheduled for September 16 at the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown, Massachusetts. No further casting has been announced.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

  20. #20
    Dark Lord mountmccabe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    The Mission
    Posts
    11,975

    Default Re: Go see the "Fela!" tour when it plays your city - it's electrifying!

    This Sunday we are seeing Far From Heaven musical based on the Todd Haynes film. It is being done at Playwrights Horizons directed by Michael Greif, with music by Scott Franke and lyrics by Michael Korie, the team that did Grey Gardens.

    Kelli O'Hara plays the Julianne Moore role and Stephen Pasquale is Dennis Quaid.
    Last edited by mountmccabe; 05-17-2013 at 12:00 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    See how wrong you are, Tommy? Randy is agreeing with you.

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 16
    Last Post: 11-17-2010, 09:49 PM
  2. Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-11-2010, 12:11 PM
  3. Replies: 19
    Last Post: 10-23-2008, 01:36 PM
  4. Ratio of "new" vs "old" and "exclusive" vs "mainstream"
    By Madigon in forum Line Up/Artists
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 02-15-2008, 04:00 PM
  5. Kanye West launch "Glow in the Dark US Tour" in March
    By summerkid in forum Rumors/Gossip/Wish List
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 01-30-2008, 03:39 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •