“Fela!”, the Tony Award winning musical might just be the perfect musical for people who aren’t fans of traditional, “Hey! I’m Bursting Out Into A Song” type shows. Based on the true story of Afrobeat superstar, Fela Kuti, a Nigerian performer who combined his talent as a musician and a performer with a fierce determination to fight for human rights in Africa, “Fela!” offers up the unique sounds of African based pop music with the award winning choreography by the acclaimed dancer/choreographer Bill T. Jones. In other words, “Fela!” does not feature a stage full of white people in period costumes serenading about “Washing That Man Out of Your Hair” or whether or not the Wells Fargo wagon will arrive in time for Junior to start practicing with his new oboe. And, unlike the rather stereotyped Africans of “The Book of Mormon”, the African characters of “Fela!” are real and vibrant characters and the show explores the history and tumult of a part of the world that few Americans are aware of. “Fela!” is a show with terrific music and a lot of visual eye candy, but it’s also a deeply emotional and political show that examines serious themes. It’s not a fluffy musical bon bon.
The choreography, design and stagecraft, and the music of Fela himself are also major reasons to see “Fela!” but, there’s also the added treat that Destiny’s Child star, Michelle Williams is part of the cast of the road company of “Fela!” coming to Seattle’s Paramount Theatre for a six day run beginning Tuesday, May 28 and ending Sunday, June 2. Tickets are still available at the STG/Paramount website…but, if you’re on a strict budget, you can also score discount tickets via Goldstar.