'Fela!' coming to movie theaters ahead of national tour
Since opening at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in November, "Fela!" has become one of the Broadway season's biggest award machines, leaping to the head of the line as the front-runner for the Tony Awards on Sunday.
Now audiences all over the country (and the world) will get a chance to see the musical in advance of a planned tour.
London's National Theatre said Monday that it will broadcast its production of "Fela!" in January 2011 as part of its NT Live series. The high-definition broadcast will take place in approximately 300 cinemas and performing arts centers in 22 countries. The company did not announce specific dates or venues for the broadcast.
In the past, NT Live broadcasts have taken place at the Mann Chinese 6 Cinemas at the Hollywood & Highland center.
The London production of "Fela!" is scheduled to begin in November, with Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah reprising the title role of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the Nigerian Afrobeat musician. Bill T. Jones, who directed and choreographed the New York production, is also staging the U.K. version.
The national and international tours of "Fela!" are set to kick off in late 2011.
"Fela!" received 11 Tony Award nominations this year, tying with the revival of "La Cage aux Folles" for the most nominations of any production."Fela!" received nominations in the categories of best musical, director, choreography, orchestrations, lead actor and others.
Before opening on Broadway, "Fela!" had an off-Broadway run in 2008 at 37 Arts.
Past NT Live broadcasts include Racine's "Phedre," starring Helen Mirren and Alan Bennett's "The Habit of Art," starring Richard Griffiths. This month, the company will broadcast its revival staging of "London Assurance," featuring Simon Russell Beale, Richard Briers and Fiona Shaw.
-- David Ng
Photo: A scene from "Fela!" Credit: Monique Carboni