fela on broadway

10

The ‘Wicked’ movie is on its way — but these 9 musicals should hit theaters first

Wicked, is making its slow march to theaters. In an interview with Film Divider, producer Marc Platt let slip that a movie version of the show could be in theaters by 2016. Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life, the original Wicked musical’s book) is currently writing the script and Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot) may direct, but Platt warns that nothing is set in stone.

Wicked is a fine musical. But before Hollywood goes and pours its cash into Elphaba and Glinda, it might want to consider these nine shows, which would not only make way better movies, but way more important ones.

youtube

FELA! on Broadway- ZOMBIE

FELA! is the electrifying new Broadway musical that tells the true story of Fela Kuti, the legendary Nigerian musician, whose stirring Afrobeat rhythms ignited a generation. Its a triumphant tale of courage and passion, directed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones.

West& FELA!

A week ago I was among 350 people in New York City whom, auditioned for a role in the FELA! National tour.  Unfortunately, I was not chosen. I can’t lie it broke my heart, but there is a lesson from this experience. Before I wallowed in self-pity, I had to remind myself I made it to the end! Considering that this is only my second professional audition as an adult that’s an accomplishment. I was among some outstanding dancers who didn’t make it past the first cut. They only had two spots open for men and Maija Garcia (Tour Director/Choreographer) made it clear they knew exactly what they were looking for. Not to digress but I was among those candidates. Following three dance cuts I got the opportunity to sing for the audition panel, which marked the end of the audition. The reality of the situation is this is far from the end.

FELA! is so much deeper than just a theatrical presentation for me, it represents the conscious struggle for social justice through the vehicle of song and dance. In addition it is a testament to how incomparable African music and dance is. African dance has always been an exceptional dance art form; however, it hasn’t been until now that it is finally getting the notoriety it deserves through Fela! winning a Tony award for Best Chorography in 2010 or Beyonce winning Best choreography at the MTV Video Music award for  “Girls” which highlight was the chorography by Tofu Tofu from Mozambique. This clearly wasn’t my time but I will continue to train and exhaust my talent because preparation inevitably will meet opportunity. I’ve been studying Congolese dance since the age of 8 and will continue to learn other African dance styles as well. I gave it my all as I represented on behalf of the spirits of my ancestor and Fela Kuti himself. I urge everyone to please go out and support FELA! the national tour. It is truly a phenomenal show; I’ve seen three times and look forward to seeing it again. The tour kicks off Jan 29 in DC and travels throughout the US. Fela Kuti was the father of Afrobeat, which blended African rhythms, funk, jazz and hot-blooded horns. He used music as the weapon against government corruption, human rights and mismanagement and is truly one of my heroes.

 Ashe!

-J.West

youtube

FELA! on Broadway- Water No Get Enemy