Grammy award-winning singer & original Lady Marmalade Patti LaBelle will be joining the cast of the hit Broadway musical Fela! on September 14 in New York; she’ll be taking over the role of Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti (Fela’s mom), currently being played by Lillias White.
She released a statement announcing the lineup change, saying,
I am both thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of FELA! on Broadway after seeing the show, I was struck by the choreography and work of Bill T. Jones, and the passion and joy that overflows from the stage. Fela’s mother, Funmilayo, was a strong, truly inspiring woman and I am so privileged to be able to pay tribute to her on the Broadway stage.
The Tony award winning musical has consistently received rave reviews since it’s Broadway debut in November 2009, and gotten the all-important seal of approval from the KUTI family.
The musical is based on events in the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, depicting the Afrobeat King as the target of 1,000 soldiers determined to put an end to his public performances at his legendary nightclub African Shrine. The musical ran off Broadway for one month in 2008 and premiered on Broadway in November 2009. There has also been talk of taking the musical to Nigeria & London’s West End.
Loved by critics and celebrities alike, it’s sad to hear that the Jay-Z, Will & Jada Pinket Smith produced show will be closing it’s doors in January 201 ?. The decision to cast Patti Labelle is interesting and I’m skeptical, however I am interested to see the authenticity of her portrayal of a strong Nigerian woman like Funmi Kuti.
See video of the cast performing Water E No Get Enemy after the break, they didn’t get the pronouciations of the Yoruba words %100 but other than that its great!