R&B legend Patti LaBelle is joining the cast of the hit Award-winning Broadway musical Fela! She takes over the role of Fela’s mother (Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti) on Tuesday, Sept. 14, through the show’s final performance Jan. 2.
“I am both thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of Fela! on Broadway,” LaBelle said in a statement.
“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,” LaBelle said.
LaBelle adds star power to the production. She’s a Grammy Award-winning, multi-platinum recording artist, whose career spans more than 30 years.
She recently reunited with Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx after 30 years for the critically acclaimed Labelle reunion album, Back to Now.
Tony Award-winner Lillias White, who received a 2010 Tony Nomination for her performance will hand over the role on Sept. 12.
Fela! rocked Broadway when it opened for its vibrant production and unconventional theme. It received three 2010 Tony Awards, including Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design.
It is currently playing at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre (230 West 49th Street) where it opened to rave reviews on last November.
While Fela! continues its run on Broadway, The Royal National Theatre in London will simultaneously present a limited run of the show in repertory with Hamlet beginning November 6.
This marks the first time ever that the National Theatre has produced a show that’s simultaneously running on Broadway.
Fela! is the true story of the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti whose soulful Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation.
Inspired by his mother, a civil rights champion, Kuti defied a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.
Tickets for Fela! on Broadway are available through Telecharge, by calling (212) 239-6200 or in-person at The Eugene O’Neill Box Office, 230 West 49th St. in Manhattan.