Stephen Hendel, the original lead producer of the Broadway Show, FELA!, announced on Thursday that the audio adaptation of FELA!, written and directed by filmmaker, Funa Maduka, and featuring a global cast of performers, will premiere on Clubhouse, the popular drop-in audio chat platform, on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16.
Fela Ten Twenty, the title of the audio adaptation, will feature an exciting new interpretation of Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis Original FELA! Script and it will be framing the ongoing #EndSars movement in the context of Fela Kuti’s legacy. Music for the production will be recorded in Lagos by the Cavemen, the band rekindling Nigerian highlife with their new album Roots.
Proceeds from the show will be in support GEANCO, for which David Oyelowo Leadership Scholarship provides full tuition, healthcare, and social and psychological support to young female survivors of terrorism and gender inequality.
Speaking, the director and producer, Funa Maduka, says that “Fela’s music, the foundation for Afrobeat, demanded global engagement with African political thought. In the aftermath of the October 2020 #EndSars protests against police brutality, his message still achingly resounds. This production is a love letter to those fighting for a better Nigeria.”
Also speaking, Stephen Hendel, whose hit Broadway show was nominated for 11 Tony Awards said, “Fela belongs to Nigeria, Africa, and the world. It is a thrill to have the show re-imagined by a team of young, creative Nigerians. I’m proud to support these artists who have come together to honor Fela Kuti’s legacy with such immense commitment and dedication.”
The production will feature a cast of actors from Nigeria, the UK and the US, including Sir Marcell as Fela Kuti; Jumoké Fashola as Funmilayo Kuti; NC Grey as Najite – a Kalakuta Queen; Nneamaka Nwadei as Omolara- a Kalakuta Queen; Malikat Rufai as Sandra Izsadore; Uche Ogodi as J.K. Braimah; Comfort Dangana as DJ Switch; Adeola Adebari as Tunde; Muhammed Agboluaje as the Driver; LaToya Ransom as the Radio Journalist and Aliu Ajala as the Babalawo.
The production is produced by Stephen Hendel, Funa Maduka and Ọlabimpe Ọlaniyan, daughter of the late renowned Fela scholar, Tejumola Olaniyan. Kingsley Okorie and Benjamin James of The Cavemen are Music Directors; Marcellus Wesley is both Technical Director and Sound Designer; Ellen Marte is both VFX Director and Graphic Designer and Amanda Ezechi is Marketing Director.