FELA ROCKS IN DEATH, WINS THREE TONY AWARDS

By NBF News
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Actors on stage of Fela, the broadway musical
Even in death, Fela Anikulapo Kuti is still making waves. He is still living large in the minds of his fans both young and old. The name of the Afro beat legend last week reverberated in the United States when the Broadway musical organized in his memory won him three Tony Awards out of 11 nominations.

Now, a movie is in the making in Hollywood on Fela and he is also in contention for the most influential entertainer award at the 50th Independence Golden Jubilee Award. According to information filtering in from goldenjubileeproject.com, Fela is leading the votes ahead of Sunny Ade, Genevieve and 2face Idibia as the most influential entertainer in the last 50 years.

A provocative hybrid of concert, dance and musical titled FELA took the United States by surprise few weeks back when the musical garnered the highest nominations (11) at the Tony Awards putting it in a tie with another musical, La Cage Aux Folles.

The Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York has recorded a massive crowd in the last week all thronging to watch the Bill T. Jones' directed and choreographed musical - FELA, which has proven to be a surprising hit on Broadway .

The play chronicles the true story life story of Fela, defying a corrupt and oppressive military government and devoted his life and music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity. It was a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love.

The musical has put Nigeria and Fela's name in the global media since the Broadway hit. Different countries of the world have signified interest in having FELA! shown in their cities according to the producers.

Watching the play on YouTube is like being right there in the New York theatre. As Sahr Ngaujah, who played Fela delivered the chants, the moves, the hooks, one could easily relate to why Fela was called abami eda. The play depicted the deep spirituality in Fela's music.

Now, it is getting more interesting, as everyone wants to identify with the Broadway hit titled FELA! which tells the true life story of the legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti who was inspired by his mother, a civil rights activist. Fela stopped at nothing to convey the message of freedom, courage and probity through his lyrical satires targeted at incorrigible Nigerian leaders.

An Hollywood producer has been granted the right to adapt Fela's story into a movie.

Hollywood actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor, a British actor of Nigerian parentage has officially been announced as the actor to play Fela in the biopic about the legendary musician and activist.

The movie is currently being developed by Focus Features which secured the rights on Fela's music and a book by Michael Veal titled Fela: The life and Times of an African Musical Icon. The movie will be directed by Steve McQueen.

Thirty five-year old Ejiofor was nominated for a Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 2001 (2000 season) for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre, Cottesloe stage.

He was awarded the Jack Tinker Award for Most Promising Newcomer at the 2000 London Critics Circle. Theatre Awards (Drama) for his performance in Blue/Orange at the Royal National Theatre, Lyttelton and later at the Duchess Theatre.

Also Chiwetel was awarded the 2000 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Outstanding Newcomer for his performance in Blue/Orange. His father who was a doctor died in a car accident when Chiwetel was eleven. Chiwetel survived the accident. Although, doing justice to Fela's music will take some real magic. Can Ejiofor be convincing on stage? Driven in part by drummer Tony Allen, will Chiwetel get the tunes, the rhythm and Fela's moves right? You should be there to witness it.

With additional reports from thenetng.com