In Step with Fela! Yeah-yeah!
The ensemble cast of Fela! is comprised of the best of Broadway and London’s Royal National Theatre companies. Sahr Ngaujah masterfully portrays the title character and he keeps the audience moving. Act I was like a big party. The entire audience grooved and gyrated to the “clock” (you’ll have to see this production to understand what this means) and we were led in rhythmic chants of “Yeah-Yeah!” and “Original, No Artificiality.” A principle figure in Fela’s life, American activist Sandra (Smith) Iszadore was played by LA based British born Paulette Ivory. Her powerful voice rocked the theatre and drew us in emotionally and made us feel like we were a part of the struggle. Funmilayo was played by Melanie Marshall. She sang with such passion, emotion and conviction that the power of her voice caused many to raise their hands in praise.
In addition to the extraordinary vocal talent, Fela! is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner and Kennedy Center Honors aware winner Bill T. Jones. The combination of talent is incredibly powerful and it leaves audience members feeling “empowered” in an interesting way. Fela! is one of the best productions we’re seen in a long time and it is “must see” theatre. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll certainly sing and dance throughout the play. You’ll definitely leave wanting a little more. Opening night gave us a wonderful surprise – the “real” Sandra Iszadore, who stopped by to join the celebration. If you’re in the Washington, DC area you can enjoy an evening of activism vis-à-vis superb theatre at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC until October 9th. After that you can look for Fela! to open in your area. Yeah-yeah!!
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Tonya Fitzpatrick, Esq. is co-Founder of World Footprints, a social impact travel storytelling content hub she runs with her husband, Ian, that has been recognized as Best Social Impact Travel Media Company by CEO Monthly. She is an award-winning travel and business journalist, global public speaker, and 3-time TEDx speaker. Tonya regularly shares her insights on career transitions, DEIA in travel and the transformative power of travel to audiences all over the world. Recognized as Black Travel Journalists of the Year—an honor she shares with Ian, Tonya contributes her time and leadership to several boards and commissions in the travel community including SATW, The Explorers Club (DC), North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) and JourneyWoman. Tonya recently was been appointed to the Maryland Tourism Development Board by Gov. Wes Moore.
2 thoughts on “In Step with Fela! Yeah-yeah!”
I didn’t witness Fela’s reign as the one time biggest musician in Nigeria. I wasn’t born during his reign, but listening to his songs now makes me wish I was. I enjoy listening to his music and wished he was given prestigious awards and recognized more for his awesome work. The article has really gotten my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details every week.
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We would highly recommend the musical production Fela! You might be interested also in the interview we did with Sandra Isadore who performed with Fela. Her character was prominent in the theatrical production.
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