Cast… Featuring Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child!
ADESOLA OSAKALUMI (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti) Theatre includes: FELA!, Equus (Broadway), Ngwino Ubeho (Sundance Theater Lab), Eyewitness Blues (NYTW), Jam on the Groove (Drama Desk nominee). Films include: Sex and the City 2, Crazy Beats Strong Every Time, The Accidental Husband, Across the Universe, Enchanted, Idlewild. As choreographer: Broadway Bares, ESPN, Old Navy, PBS Kids, Halifax Bank, Advil, the films School of Rock and Marci X. NEA Grant and Bessie Award Recipient. Adesola would like to thank the Creator, the Ancestors, and the Divinities! Special thanks goes to My Family, The Africa I Dance Theatre under the direction of R. Francis, Egbe Omo Nago, The Rhythm Technicians/GhettOriginal Productions Dance Co, Tara Boragine, Lakey Wolff, Jen Krater, Universes, The Rhythmics, and Margaret Selby. http://www.adesola.com/
DUAIN RICHMOND (Fela Anikulapo-Kuti ) is a native of SIERRA LEONE, West Africa and is honored to be a part of the FELA! experience. Duain got his start in theatre under the guidance of Freddie Hendricks performing in such shows as Times, B.L.A.C.K., and the internationally acclaimed Soweto which won best all around production at the Windybrow Theatre in South Africa. His other theatre credits include: DiggyDotCom (Made in da Shade, Amsterdam), Ruined and Superior Donuts (Geffen Playhouse, LA). Film Credits: The Wool Cap, Stomp the Yard, Daddy’s Little Girls and Lifeless. Music is the weapon – Fela Kuti! POW!
MELANIE MARSHALL (Funmilayo) Training: Royal College of Music (Foundation Scholarship for Singing and Piano). Theatre includes: FELA! (National Theatre); Hot Mikado (Watermill Theatre); Simply Heavenly (YoungVic and Trafalgar Studios); The Fat Lady Sings; Elsa Canasta and L’Eveil with the Rambert Dance Company; Carmen Jones, Porgy and Bess, Fame, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Kiss Me Kate (all West End). Television and film includes: Alice in Wonderland, The Wide Sargasso Sea, Ray, Songs of Praise, The Walker and Casualty. Recordings include: Feel the Spirit, A Christmas Festival, Messiah, Distant Land (All Conducted by John Rutter) and Cocktail. BBC Radio includes: “Friday Night is Music Night,” “In Tune” and Stephen Sondheim’s 75th Birthday Concert. Melanie has also appeared with the Royal Philharmonic, Liverpool, the Halle and all the BBC Orchestras, and has performed in concert at Carnegie Hall and all major UK concert venues. Melanie was nominated for a 2012 Helen Hayes Award for Best Lead Actress in a Non Residential Production for her role in FELA!
MICHELLE WILLIAMS (Sandra Izsadore), a multi-award winning international singer, song-writer, record producer, and actress, she is known as one-third member of the record-breaking R&B and Pop sensation, DESTINY’s CHILD, one of the world’s best selling female groups of all time!
“I am thrilled to join the cast of FELA” said Michelle Williams. “This musical journey is the one that I’ve wanted to be with since I first saw it on stage. The sounds, the passion and the politics of Fela Kuti have long intrigued me and speak to my heart. I am simply honored.”
In between recording and concert tours, Michelle has conquered yet another challenging mountain as an actress. First, she took the reigns of Broadway’s AIDA in 2003 to critical acclaim and audience raves.
In 2007, Michelle took on her greatest acting challenge when she joined the cast of the Broadway smash, A COLOR PURPLE for it’s national tour. She dazzled in the role of Shug Avery. In 2009, Michelle joined the London West End production of CHICAGO where she made history as being the first African American woman to play the role of Roxie Hart.
Michelle is a passionate spokesperson for TERI (Training Education & Research Institute) a non-profit dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and adults with developmental an learning disabilities. She also works with the American Heart Association as an ambassador for the American Stroke Association. Michelle recently became a spokesperson for NVEEE (National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment), an organization focused on preventing bullying, violence and suicide among young people.
RASAAN-ELIJAH “TALU” GREEN
ASAAN-ELIJAH “TALU” GREEN (Djembe-‘Mustafa’). Training: Long Island University. Theatre includes: FELA! (off-Broadway, Broadway and Lagos, Nigeria); Afropop Worldwide Gala, Russell Simmons’ Diamond Empowerment Fund Benefit, Dance Africa, National Black Arts Festival, Bambara Drum & Dance Ensemble, Indoda Entsha Percussion Ensemble, Creative Outlet Dance Theatre of Brooklyn. Talu exhibited his passion for West African percussion music after visiting several African countries where he gained first-hand experience with traditional percussionists.
ISMAEL KOUYATÉ (Ismael) Ismael hails from a family of renowned artists and praise singers in Guinea, West Africa. He performed with Guinea’s national companies, Les Percussions de Guinea and Les Ballets Africains. Currently residing in New York City, he teaches dance and sings with his band, Ismael Kouyaté: Waraba Band.
GELAN LAMBERT (J.K. Braimah/Tap Dancer/Egungun) Gelan is proud to be of Haitian decent. On May 23, 2013 he was personally recognized by the mayor of Miami- Mayor Andre D. Pierre- in honor of Haitian Heritage Month. Training: The Juilliard School BFA in dance, New World School of the Arts and Dancexchange Inc. Professional credits: FELA! (Broadway/ Lagos, Nigeria), The Martha Graham Dance Company, Sean Curran Company, Fosse (1st National Tour), A Christmas Carol (Madison Square Garden Theater), City Center Encores’ Golden Boy, NYC Opera’s Alcina/Turandot, and a featured performer for Jacob’s Pillow’s Katherine Dunham Tribute. Solo concerts: Jacob’s Pillow, Stella Adler Studio, Florida International Univ., City Center Studio, Long Island University and George Faison Firehouse Theater. Awards and honors: Martha Hill Prize from The Juilliard School, National Foundation for Advancement of Arts-1st Place, Presidential Scholar for the Arts, National Society of Arts and Letters–1st Place and Jerome Foundation Fellow to Ghana. A principal artist and assistant to Reginald Yates. Ayo!
ONEIKA PHILLIPS (Sandra u/s, Ensemble) Of Grenada, West Indies (BFA, BBM). FELA!, Dir. Bill T. Jones (u/s Sandra, Funmilayo; Broadway, Lagos, Euro & 1st. National Tours); Olivier Nominated West Side Story, Dir. Joey McKneely (Anita; Best Musical Revival); Abdel Salaam’s Forces of Nature Dance Theatre. Brooklyn Council Outstanding Citizen Recipient, Astaire Award Best Broadway Female Ensemble.
SHAKIRA MARSHALL (Ensemble), a.k.a. “Kira” happily returns to the cast of FELA! Shakira received her BA in Media, Society and the Arts from SUNY Purchase College. Training: Edge School of the Arts, Yolette Rousseau, Kerri Edge, Roger Jeffrey, Obediah Wright, Stephanie Brown, Kevin “Iega” Jeff. Credits: MTV MADE, Questlove’s Afro-Picks (Paris), FELA! on Broadway, Scandalous People (My Church prod.), Sophisticated Ladies (Irving St. Rep), Apollo Circus of Soul. Choreographed Jill Scott/Maxwell tour, Alison Hinds’ world tour. Performed on stage and in music videos with artists Beyoncé, N*E*R*D*, Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Tami Chynn, Eve, Remy Ma, Thunderkatz and the Editors.
JILL VALLERY (Ensemble/Dance Captain) Original cast of FELA! On/Off Bway. Graduate of the Ailey School, became a National Teaching Artist for Ailey Arts in Education & Community. Dance: Balance Dance Company, Opus Dance Theatre, Prophecy Dance, ADTC.! Film: Lifted. She is thankful to all that have contributed to her journey and eternally grateful to her ancestors and family.
DANIEL SOTO (Ensemble) From Brooklyn, NY of Hispanic descent. Training: Jamel Ganies Creative Outlet Dance Theater of Brooklyn, SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory. Has studied with Shirley Black-Brown Crowd, George Fasion, Bill T. Jones and many more. Soto is honored to be an original Broadway cast member since the very seed of the production and blessed to carry the fire that FELA! resonates today.
LAUREN DE VEAUX
LAUREN DE VEAUX (Ensemble) Broadway: Original cast of Fela! Chattanooga, TN, native. Graduate of Alabama School of Fine Arts, Howard University School of Engineering. Credits: Mama Kadiatou Conte, Ronald Brown, Abdel R. Salaam, George Faison, Anna and Barry VanCura, Dame Sonia Arova and Thor Sutowski. Eternal love for her husband, family and friends for support. www.ladeveaux.com
SHAWN ALYNDA FISHER
SHAWN ALYNDA FISHER (Ensemble) Born in Wichita, KS, Shawn moved to NYC to study at The Ailey School. Upon completion, she has performed both nationally and internationally. Recent credits include: Bring It On The Musical (Alliance Theatre), STREB Extreme Action and work by Jacques Heims of Diavolo. Shawn is honored and ecstatic to share her light and energy with the amazing creative team, cast and crew of Fela! She also holds a B.A. in Life Science/Pre-Med from Kansas State University. She thanks Jesus Christ, firstly and foremost, and family and friends for unwavering support.
JASON HERBERT (Ensemble) A New York Native and is thrilled to join the national tour of Fela! Training: Boston Conservatory, Alvin Ailey School, Martha Graham School TV/Film includes NBC “Late Night with Conan O’Brien”, MTV’s “Daddy’s Girls”, Fox Searchlight’s Lifted, Indep. Film: Something Whispered. Companies: Philadanco!, Ballet Noir, Forces of Nature Dance Theater. He thanks his loved ones and mentors for years of love and support.
INDIA MCGEE (Ensemble) India is the 2nd youngest (3rd oldest) child of Dr. Jerome & Donna McGee Sr. Credits on Broadway: Spiderman: Turn off the Dark. Company Credits: Rejoice! Dance Company, Karmography Bollywood Dance Company.
KAFI PIERRE (Ensemble, Swing) Training: Alvin Ailey. BROADWAY: The Lion King (dance captain); Bombay Dreams (ensemble). ). US/Canada/Europe tours : Cirque du Soleil’s Delirium (ensemble), Asia-Pacific/Australia/Mexico tours “Dralion” (lead role). Film/TV: MTV Productions “Backyardigans”, Sony Pictures Delirium. Founder: iCan Performing. Arts Initiative. www.icanperform.com
Adé Chiké Torbert
Adé Chiké born in Brooklyn, NY began studying dance at the age of 6. Inspired by his older brother to take up dancing, his mother enrolled him in classes at the Restoration Dance Theater where he was introduced to West African, Tap & Afro-Caribbean dance. While there he had the opportunity to join “The Young Hoofers” which was a tap troupe consisting of his two brothers & four other young men. While with the Hoofers Adé Chiké was fortunate enough to study under the tutelage of Buster Brown, Jimmy Slyde, Savion Glover & Gregory Hines. Adé Chiké continued to hone his skills & was later accepted into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High school also known as “The Fame School”.. During his Junior year he was accepted into the Alvin Ailey School with a full scholarship. Upon graduation he was accepted to The Boston Conservatory. While there he had the opportunity to perform in various classical works.
In 2010 Adé Chiké auditioned for FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance and was chosen as one of their “Top 11″ during SYTYCD’s seventh season. He fought his way through the competition and went on to secure a spot in the Top 4. Since then he has had the opportunity of performing on Saturday Night Live, The Ellen Show & Dancing With The Stars. He recently made his Broadway debut in the Tony Award Winning Musical “Fela!” & has been a featured special guest with the iconic troupe; “The Blue Man Group.” He’s also had the pleasure of working with recording artists; Nicki Minaj, Queen Latifah, Katherine McPhee, Natasha Bedingfield & Jennifer Hudson. His talents have taken him to various parts of the world such as, South Africa, Belarus & The Netherlands. Most recently he worked on Season 2 of the NBC hit musical SMASH as well as the feature film Something Whispered, starring Cuba Gooding Jr.
MALAIYKA REID (Ensemble) graduated from Brooklyn College (B.S in Finance and Business Mgmt). Theatre: Twist, dir/choreo by Debbie Allen, Aida (China tour). TB: Madonna’s “Gimme All Your Luvin” (Nicki Minaj’s body double). Training: The Ailey School, Creative Outlet. Peace and Blessings to my friends and family. Honored to be joining the Fela! Family!
TRICIA M. TAITT
TRICIA M. TAITT (Ensemble) A Brooklyn, NY native with origins in Trinidad & Tobago, W.I. Companies: Forces of Nature Dance Theatre (Abdel Salaam); A.A.D.E (Baba Chuck Davis); African Rhythms. She is also a Certified Pilates instructor with a background in Business; graduated with a BS in Economics from UPenn/Wharton School and an M.B.A from Duke/Fuqua. Thanks to family and friends for supporting my dream.
UYOATA UDI (Ensemble, Swing) is of Nigerian descent and hails from Los Angeles, California. He graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School and currently attends University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, with a full scholarship. He has performed for President Obama and the First Lady at the White House, as well as for the Governor of Nigeria. His primary training began in Los Angeles with his mentor Karen McDonald. He also attended the Alonzo King Summer Intensive and studied musical theatre at US Performing Arts in New York City. He is thrilled to be an addition to the FELA cast.
Beauty, sensitivity and force radiate through the drumming of Greg Gonzalez. For nearly twenty years Greg has been one of New York City’s most versatile and sought after musicians. His resume includes performance and recording credits with top artists in virtually every genre of music including: Beyonce, Patti LaBelle, Teddy Geiger, Jazz Mandolin Project, Cecil Taylor, Sonya Kitchell, Danielia Cotton, Antibalas, Femi Kuti, Bernie Worell, Don Braden and many more.
Raymond Mason is a freelance trombonist from Long Island, NY. He has quickly established himself in NYC by performing with GRAMMY® Award winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, SNL Music Director Lenny Pickett, Miles Davis bassist Michael Henderson, vocalist/actress Lonette McKee, the Mingus Big Band, and Weezer. Raymond can be heard on recordings with Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Little Jimmie Scott, and many more. He performs regularly with the Bailen Brothers, the Fatum Brothers’ Jazz Orchestra, and NYC Afro-Beat group EMEFE. Raymond received his Bachelor of Music degree from NYU in 2012, studying under Brian Lynch, Dave Pietro, Alan Ferber, and Elliot Mason.
Ricardo Quiñones began playing guitar at the age of ten on a three-string Brooklyn garage sale find, thus beginning a lifelong love affair with the instrument and it’s possibilities. This fascination with the guitar eventually found him playing, writing and collaborating with a wide range of musically kindred spirits including Alicia Keys, India Arie, Sade, Luther Vandross, Brooklyn-based Afro-beat band Antibalas, and others. Ricky has been playing with the production of the musical FELA! since it opened on Broadway, November 2009.
New York-born guitarist Bryan Vargas was a founding member of Antibalas. In addition to performing with the FELA! band, he’s done time with pianist Arturo O’Farrill, Felix Sanabria & Los Afortunados, jazz saxophonist Melvin Butler, drummer Robb DiPietro, songwriters Christopher North & Katie Elevitch, singer/poet Mayra Vega, Kokolo Afrobeat Orchestra, Amayo’s Fu Arkestra, Heavy Merge, Trio Noir, acid-jazzer Topaz, alt rockers Baby Gopal, and more.
FELA! Bassist/keyboardist Jeremy Wilms did a six month stint as guitarist in jazz legend Chico Hamilton’s band, multiple performances with Butch Morris’ Orchestra, and performed and recorded with rapper/producer EL-P. He’s played on tracks with Bebel Gilberto, TV on the Radio, Christina Rosenvinge, and members of Sonic Youth. Jeremy has been an alternate member of Antibalas for over 6 years. He is also a founding member of the bands Chin Chin and Big Mono. Soundtrack credits include Iconoclasts series music, CNN documentary Far From Home, 2004 Nike Lab website sound design (winner of Flash Forward and Cannes Awards).
Percussionist Dylan Fusillo cut his teeth performing in Atlanta with artists like Michelle Malone and the Atlanta Rhythm Section. While studying classical music during college, he performed with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Gloria Estefan. He briefly moved to Nashville, where he worked as a staff musician at Opryland, backing up dozens of established and up and coming artists, from George Jones to Boots Randolph. In 1996, he moved to New York City to study jazz. He soon found himself sharing the stage with the likes of Joe Lovano and Al Jarreau. Developing his interest in world music, Fusillo went on to become a founding member of the seminal afrobeat band Antibalas. He backed Femi and Seun Kuti, as well as Baaba Maal. Recent years have found him broadening his horizons further, working with pop artists such as Beyoncé, Patti Labelle, and Babyface. He continues to perform and record with artists such as Meshell N’Degeocello, The Roots, Roy Hargrove, Art Neville, Taj Mahal, Charlie Hunter, Sharon Jones, The Stills, Michael Franti, Prozaak, and Bill T Jones.
Morgan Price hails from Rockville, Maryland. He attended Indiana University, where he studied under NEA Jazz Master David Baker and saxophone professor Tom Walsh, and received his Bachelor of Music diploma in 2007, along with being awarded a Performers Certificate. Moving to New York City shortly thereafter, Morgan began his big city career by playing in the subway with NYC tourist band favorite, The Drumadics. Morgan is also the baritone saxophonist for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. He has performed all around the world with them, including concerts with the Utah and Pacific Symphony Orchestras, for the King of Thailand, for the bicentennial celebration of Mexican independence, a tour of China, and many other engagements worldwide. He’s also performed or recorded with Beyonce Knowles, Jean Grae, James “12″ Andrews, Seun and Femi Kuti, Brian McKnight, Mulgrew Miller, and many others. He also co-leads Ikebe Shakedown.
Saxophonist Alex Harding hails from Detroit, where he studied music in his early years with Yusef Lateef, Beans Bows and Herbie Williams, and played with Wynton Marsalis and Donald Byrd while still in high school. Alex went on to win music scholarships to the University of Massachusetts and the Aspen School of Music. Alex’s first European engagement in 1990 was in Porgy and Bess. A year later, he went to Mexico to the Arts and Music Festival with percussionist Francisco Mora. He has played with Sun Ra Arkestra, The Mingus Big Band and Aretha Franklin, to name a few.
Jeff Pierce is a New York freelance trumpet player. Recent performances include Lee Fields and the Expressions, Charles Bradley and the Menahan Street Band, Julian Velard, Chin Chin, Afroskull, Akoya Afrobeat, FELA! Broadway, FELA! Nigeria, FELA! US Tour.
Born in New York, Roland is a descendant of the Garifuna of Honduras. Roland is an alumnus of The Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division.Roland has toured internationally with Nigerian superstar Femi Kuti (the son of the legendary musical pioneer and creator of Afro Beat, Fela) as well as recording with Grammy Award winning rap artist, Andre 3000 of Outkast. Roland was a member of the orchestra on Broadway and for the National Touring Company of Walt Disney’s “The Lion King” as well as the Broadway production of “Fela” and has also performed on network television with NBC’s Saturday Night Live Band., as well as having performed, recorded, and toured internationally in the bands of numerous masters of jazz and latin music, such as Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chico O’Farrill’s Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra (featured in the film “Calle 54” by Fernando Trueba), saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera, trombonist and conch shell master Steve Turre, steel pan master Andy Narrell, vocalists Jon Lucien, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Rene Marie, bassists Andy Gonzalez and Charles Fambrough , vibraphonist Dave Samuels, flutist Dave Valentin, guitarist Hiram Bullock, pianists Randy Weston and Onaje Allen Gumbs and legendary conga master Mongo Santamaria, just to name a few.
Roland has performed with The Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, The
Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra and Sextet directed by Grammy Award winner Arturo
O’Farrill, The Bronx Latin Jazz All Stars and with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis.
As an instructor and lecturer Roland has conducted workshops and master classes in Afro -Latin Percussion at the Jazzmobile Jazz Workshop in Harlem, has been on
the faculty at The New School Jazz and Contemporary music program at the
Parsons School of Design in NYC, the Harlem School of the Arts and The Brooklyn
Conservatory of Music and. Roland has also taught percussion for the Childrens
Aid Society at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center in Harlem.
BILL T. JONES
BILL T. JONES (Co-Conception/Director/Choreographer/Book Writer) is a 2010 Kennedy Center Honoree. He received a Tony® Award in 2009 for his choreography of FELA! and in 2007 for his choreography of Spring Awakening, as well as being the recipient of the 2007 Obie Award and 2006 Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation CALLAWAY Award for his choreography for Spring Awakening, the recipient of the 2007 USA Eileen Harris Norton Fellowship, the 2006 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Choreography for The Seven, the 2005 Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award for Lifetime Achievement, the prestigious 2005 Wexner Prize, and the Aaron Davis Hall Harlem Renaissance Award. He is also a MacArthur “Genius” Award recipient in 1994, named one of America’s Irreplaceable Dance Treasures by the Dance Heritage Coalition in 2000, and was awarded The 2003 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for which recipients are considered trailblazers who have redefined their art and reshaped the cultural landscape. He began his dance training at the State University of New York at Binghamton (SUNY), where he studied classical ballet and modern dance. After living in Amsterdam, Mr. Jones returned to SUNY, where he became co-founder of the American Dance Asylum in 1973. Before forming Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in 1982, Mr. Jones choreographed and performed nationally and internationally as a soloist and duet company with his late partner, Arnie Zane.
JIM LEWIS (Co-Conceiver/Book Writer/Additional Lyrics) Jim Lewis is proud to have received a nomination for the 2011 Olivier Awards for Best New Musical for this production of FELA!. Previously, he received a Tony® nomination for Best Book for a Musical for the Broadway version. In 2008 he received the Lucille Lortel award for outstanding musical for FELA! and two Drama Desk nominations for best book for FELA! and This Beautiful City (with The Civilians). Selected works on Broadway include: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Tony® and Drama Desk nominations) and Dangerous Games (both with Graciela Daniele). Off-Broadway and regional theatre credits include: Tango Apaisionado, Ionesco’s The Chairs and Ibsen’s Lady from the Sea. Opera and dance credits include: Paul Dresher’s The Tyrant, Ballet Hispanico’s Nightclub, Philip Glass’s Les Enfants Terribles and PastFORWARD (with Mikhail Baryshnikov). Dramaturgy credits include: House Arrest (Anna Deavere Smith); Drawn to Death (Art Spiegelman); Cymbeline and Waste (with Bartlett Sher); and Lincoln Center’s WOZA AFRIKA Festival. Jim has served as literary manager and dramaturge at The Guthrie, The Second Stage and INTAR Theaters, and was producing director at The American Center in Paris for its inaugural season. Previous work with Bill T. Jones includes: Dream On Monkey Mountain, Chapel/Chapter and Still/Here (20th anniversary season).
MARINA DRAGHICI (Scenic/Costume Design) Marina was born in Bucharest, Romania. She emigrated to the United States where she graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1988. Prior to FELA! Marina collaborated with Bill T. Jones on Dream on a Monkey Mountain at the Guthrie Theatre and 24 Images Secondes at Lyons Opera. Her work has been seen at the Paris National Opera, Zurich Opera, Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux, Opera de Nice, NYCO, Edinburgh Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, National Theatre of Prague, Public Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and Lincoln Center, among many other venues in the US and abroad. Awards include: Tony® Lucille Lortel, Obie and numerous nominations. Film and TV works include: Precious, Rage, The Grey Zone, Heights, Twelve and Holding, S.O.P., The Cake Eaters, Dexter and Blue Bloods.
ROBERT WIERZEL (Lighting Design) has collaborated with Bill T. Jones and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company for more than 25 years, including work at the Lyon Opera Ballet, Berlin Opera Ballet and The Louvre Museum (Walking the Line). Broadway credits: David Copperfield’s Dreams and Nightmares. Off-Broadway: New York Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater, Signature Theatre, Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons. Regional theatre credits include: Chicago Shakespeare, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theatre (Washington DC), Long Wharf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Guthrie Theater and Mark Taper Forum. He has collaborated with composer Philip Glass and with the opera companies of Paris (Garnier), Tokyo, San Francisco, Seattle, Houston, Washington, Chicago and New York. He is the recipient of numerous awards including a Tony® nomination for FELA! and several Bessie dance and performance awards for his collaborations with Bill T. Jones.
ROBERT KAPLOWITZ (Sound Design) has had the privilege to write music and/or create sound designs for hundreds of plays, and is flattered to have been honored with both a Tony Award® for FELA! and an OBIE award for Sustained Excellence. Selected credits include: John Beluso’s The Poor Itch, Lemon Anderson’s County Of Kings, and Neil LaBute’s Wrecks at The Joseph Papp Public Theatre; The Art Spiegelman/Pilobolus collaboration Hapless Hooligan; David Adjmi’s Stunning (Lincoln Center 3); Kia Corthron’s Light, Raise the Roof (NYTW); Abbey Spallin’s Pumpgirl (MTC), Chloe Moss’s This Wide Night (Naked Angels); and Adam Bock’s The Thugs (SoHo Rep) and A Small Fire (Playwrights Horizons), plus designs for 2nd Stage, LAByrinth, MCC, Primary Stages, The Vineyard, Sundance, PlayPenn, the O’Neill Playwrights Center, and others. He is also married to a former John Deere Catalog Model whom he loves, along with his son Niall, more than any work he’s ever done.
PETER NIGRINI (Projection Design) has designed projection on Broadway for FELA!, 9 to 5: The Musical and Say Goodnight Gracie. Other designs include: Grace Jones Hurricane Tour, Der Ferne Klang (Bard Summerscape), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (City Opera), Blind Date (Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance), The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (2nd Stage Theatre); Fetch Clay, Make Man (McCarter Theater Center); The Orphan of Zhao (Lincoln Center Festival); Sweet Bird of Youth (Williamstown); Dido and Aeneas (Handel Haydn Society); and Biro (the Public Theater). For Nature Theater of Oklahoma: No Dice (2008 Obie award); Romeo and Juliet (Salzburger Festspiele); and Life and Times, Episode 1 and 2 (Burgtheater, Vienna) among others. Upcoming projects include Here Lies Love (the Public Theater) and Becoming Helen Keller (PBS American Masters). Peter is a graduate of Central Saint Martins’ scenography course.
COOKIE JORDAN (Wigs, Hair and Make-up Designer) Cookie Jordan’s Broadway credits include: Lombardi, FELA!, Miracle Worker, A View from the Bridge and South Pacific. Off-Broadway credits include: Neighbors (Public Theater). Regional theatre includes: Little Shop of Horrors (Ford’s Theater); national tour and international tours of Disney’s High School Musical; and a national tour of Dirty Dancing.
Aaron Johnson (Additional Music/Music Supervisor/Arrangements) was born in Iowa City and raised on Long Island. He began studying music at the Mannes Prep program in New York and continued at The New School, where he now teaches. He has become an in-demand trombonist, arranger and composer on the New York music scene, and has recorded and performed with such artists as Paul Simon, Medeski, Martin and Wood, TV on the Radio, The Roots, Wu-Tang-Clan, Angelique Kidjo and Femi Kuti. He joined the band Antibalas in 2000 and began conducting them in 2001. He was nominated for both Drama Desk and Tony® awards for his work on FELA!.
ANTIBALAS (Arrangements/Musicians) Credited with introducing Afrobeat to a new generation, this Brooklyn-based collective has released four critically-acclaimed albums since forming in 1998, and can been heard on numerous Afrobeat compilations. Antibalas has performed more than 700 concerts around the world including appearances at the Coachella, Newport and the Montreux Festivals.
JORDAN MCLEAN (Additional Music/Associate Musical Director) A composer, band leader, trumpeter and music educator, McLean has performed on stages and in recording studios around the globe and collaborated with a multitude of musicians, ensembles and arts organizations. Charter member of Antibalas. McLean currently leads his “play anywhere chamber ensemble,” Piano Music & Song Trio, and is a founding partner of Sound Chemistry Records. Graduate of SUNY Purchase.
MAIJA GARCIA (Creative Director/Associate Choreographer) is part of the original creative team of FELA!, working alongside Bill T. Jones since 2006, staging the production off and on Broadway in New York, at the National Theatre, Afrika Shrine/EKO in Lagos, Nigeria and the international tour. Direction/choreography credits include: YaYa Dreams A Future (Summerstage NYC 2010); Organic Magnetics and Neighbors (The Public Theater). Film credits include: FELA! TV commercial, Seun Kuti’s “RISE” music video, Angelique Kidjo’s Move on Up and PBS special. She was also a performing artist with Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company from 2004–2009. Maija currently teaches at New York University and offers contemporary dance/theatre workshops internationally. Maija is also founding director of Organic Magnetics and binds theatre arts to create urban folklore for the future. www.organicmagnetics.com
NIEGEL SMITH (Associate Director) Niegel Smith is a founding member of 425D, a directors’ lab. His New York directing credits include: SEED (Classical Theatre of Harlem and Hip Hop Theater Festival); Neighbors (Public Theater); Ether Steeds (Fringe award for best ensemble); We Declare You a Terrorist (SPF); Metro Psalm, Rainy Days and Mondays (Fringe award, Fringe Encores); Maud – The Madness (Phoenix Ensemble Theatre); One For The Road and LIMBS: A Pageant (HERE). He has assisted directors including Jo Bonney, James Lapine, Kristin Marting, Richard Nelson and George C. Wolfe. As co-artistic director of PERMISO with Todd Shalom, he has co-conceived and staged mass rituals in public settings. As a graduate of Dartmouth College, Niegel has received grants and fellowships from Theater Communications Group, the Van Lier Fund and the Tucker Foundation. Before attending high school in Detroit, he grew up in the North Carolina piedmont, fishing with his dad, shopping with his mom and inventing tall-tale fantasies with his two younger brothers.
RICHARD KORNBERG & ASSOCIATES
RICHARD KORNBERG & ASSOCIATES (General Press Representative) ) represent the off-Broadway revival of RENT, New York Theatre Workshop, Canada’s Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Transport Group, Joyce Theater, Armitage Gone! Dance, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and MOMIX. Decades of Broadway credits include: RENT, Hairspray, FELA!, Dirty Blonde, I Am My Own Wife, Death of a Salesman.
Rameen Gasery (Executive Photographer to Lead Producer) The DREW Prep alumnus and Getty Images Contributor began his studies in the arts as a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) Theatre Arts Department. A fine art/event/documentary photographer, he has documented the production intermittently, from FELA!’s opening night on Broadway in 2009 to present.
Rameen’s background includes experience shooting portraiture and event photography for the following organizations/artists:
The Lucie Foundation, New York Gallery Week, Vogue Brazil, Andy Warhol Foundation, Mercedes-Benz, Judd Foundation, Figurative Painter Luc Tuymans, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, 944 Magazine, KING Magazine, Page Six of the New York Post, Phaidon Press, Millennium Promise Foundation, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, Triple Step Towards The Cure, Brazil Foundation, James Beard Foundation, David Zwirner Gallery, DJ Rich Medina, Chef Roble Ali, Shepard Fairey, Steven Heller, Nike Basketball, Steve McCurry, and many more. http://www.RameenGasery.com
SHAWN “JAY-Z” CARTER
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter (Producer) Since 1996, 13-time Grammy Award® winner Shawn “JAY-Z” Carter has dominated the rap industry and set trends for a generation. Now in 2011, he personifies the “American Dream.” Founder and chairman of Rocawear, he is also co-owner of the NJ Nets, 40/40 sportsclubs, Translation Advertising and Carol’s Daughter skin line, as well involved in a partnership with Iconix Brand Group. After three successful years as President and CEO of Def Jam Recordings, where he fostered the careers of international stars Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Kanye West, JAY-Z entered into a partnership with Live Nation to form Roc Nation. JAY-Z just released his collaborative effort with Kanye West, WATCH THE THRONE, his twelfth #1 album. He has secured the record for most #1 albums by any solo artist. He continues his philanthropic work through his Water for Life initiative and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
Will Smith (Producer) A two-time Academy Award® nominee, Will Smith has enjoyed unprecedented success in a career encompassing films, television and multi-platinum records. For his memorable portrayal of Muhammad Ali in Michael Mann’s Ali, he received his first Academy Award® nomination, which was followed by his second nomination for the true-life drama, The Pursuit of Happyness. Films in which Smith has acted include I Am Legend, Hancock, I, Robot, Independence Day, Men in Black and Men in Black II. Films in which Smith has acted and has also produced along with partner James Lassiter at Overbrook Entertainment include Hitch, ATL, The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds and The Human Contract.
JADA PINKETT SMITH
Jada Pinkett Smith (Producer) recently starred as Christina Hawthrone in TNT’s newest medical drama HawthoRNe. The show, which Jada executive produced through her production company 100% Womon, garnered critical acclaim for its first season. Recent films in which Jada has acted inclue Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (as the voice of Gloria), The Women, Reign Over Me, Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revoutions. Jada wrote and directed The Human Contract and served as executive producer of The Secret Life of Bees. Additionally, Jada’s 2005 children’s book Girls Hold Up This World was a New York Times bestseller.
RUTH AND STEPHEN HENDEL
Ruth (Producer) and Stephen Hendel (Co-Conceiver/Producer) Ruth’s Broadway credits include: Death of Salesman (Tony®), Clybourne Park (Tony®), FELA! (with Stephen), American Idiot (with Stephen), Driving Miss Daisy, In The Heights (Associate), Red (Tony®), A View from the Bridge, Hamlet, Mary Stuart, All My Sons, 33 Variations, Passing Strange, Legally Blonde, Kiki and Herb Alive on Broadway, High Fidelity, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Caroline, Or Change, A Raisin in the Sun, Goldas Balcony, Frozen, Night Mother, Steel Magnolias, Barefoot in the Park and Metamorphoses. Off-Broadway credits include: Altar Boyz, Red Light Winter, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Exonerated and tick tick…BOOM!. Regional: As Much As You Can (Los Angeles) and currently Immediate Family (Chicago). Ruth Hendel is on the boards of the LAByrinth Theater, The Play Company and the Yale School of Drama Advisory. She is vice-chair and Stephen Hendel is treasurer of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. Stephen also serves on the boards of The New Group, The Culture Project, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Afropop.org, Museum for African Art and on the Board of Visitors of the Yale School of Music.
AHMIR “QUESTLOVE” THOMPSON
AHMIR “QUESTLOVE” THOMPSON (Producer) Acclaimed drummer, DJ, producer, culinary entrepreneur, and member of The Roots – Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, is making his way into the culinary world with ?uest Loves Food and his signature “Love’s Drumstick.” ?uestlove is the unmistakable heartbeat of The Roots, Philadelphia’s most influential hip-hop band. This Grammy Award®-winning musician’s indisputable reputation has landed him musical directing positions with everyone from D’Angelo to Eminem to Jay-Z. He is the Musical Director for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and his beloved Roots crew serves as house band. ?uest Loves Food begins its culinary quest with off-premise curating, featuring Creole and Korean inspired soul food with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and “on-a-stick” decadence, for hi-profile exclusive events.
Roy Gabay/Roy Gabay Productions (Producer/General Manager) has produced and/or managed many shows on Broadway, off-Broadway, and on national tours. Current & upcoming shows include: Rock of Ages, A Streetcar Named Desire, Becoming Chaplin, Once, Monsoon Wedding, and Honeymoon in Vegas.
EDWARD TYLER NAHEM
Edward Tyler Nahem (Producer) has been a New York based international art dealer for over 25 years. For as many years Nahem has been pulled toward the irresistible music of West Africa. He is Executive Producer on the award-winning eponymous documentary Youssou NDour: I Bring What I Love, about the Senegalese singer and activist. Since day one, he continues to be “stupefied and mesmerized” by the electrifying power of FELA!. It is impossible to keep him out of the theater or in his seat.
Daryl Roth (Producer) is proud to hold the singular distinction of producing six Pulitzer Prize-winning plays: August: Osage County; Proof,; Wit, How I Learned to Drive, Anna in the Tropics and Three Tall Women. Currently, Love, Loss and What I Wore; Vigil, in addition to numerous other award-winning productions. Love to Steven, my family, Leo and Lucy.
Susan Dietz (Producer) is currently the producing director of L.A.’s Reprise Theatre Company. Broadway: Mail, The Lonesome West, Topdog/Underdog, the revivals of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Steel Magnolias, Deuce and The Little Dog Laughed. Off-Broadway: The Baby Dance, Adrift in Macao (at Primary Stages), Some Men (at Second Stage).
Mort Swinsky (Producer) Morton’s contributions to Broadway have been honored with twelve Tony Awards®. He has embraced New York and international theatre through his particiipation in more than 80 plays and musicals, including everything from pure entertainment (Spamalot) to throught-provoking (Spring Awakening). He has been the recipient of numerous awards for his film and television projects, including Boys Don’t Cry and the concert version of Sweeney Todd. Morton is delighted to be associated with Joe Dietch on The Addams Family and David Mamet’s Race, as well as the eventful FELA!
Chip Meyrelles (Producer) Producing credits include Tracy Letts’s Bug, Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow, Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Ethan Coen’s Almost an Evening.
Ken Greiner (Producer) Producing credits include Tracy Letts’s Bug, Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow, Martin McDonagh’s The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Ethan Coen’s Almost an Evening.
Joseph Deitch (Producer) While Joe is relatively new to Broadway (Blithe Spirit, The Addams Family, Race and A View From the Bridge), he is well versed in delighting his audience. As the founder of Commonwealth Financial Network and a partner in Southworth Golf Development, Joe is devoted to promoting quality and community. He is honored to be part of FELA!
Slava Smolokowski (Producer) From music to music! Slava was educated as a musician and went on to form a successful rock band. He then went into business, co-founding Mercuria Energy Group, of which he remains a shareholder. He is now returning to his initial passion for music and the arts and supports and sponsors many music projects in Europe. He is very happy and honored to be part of the FELA! story.
Douglas Smith (Producer) founded Match Point Entertainment, won a 2009 Tony® for The Norman Conquests, Boeing-Boeing (Tony®, 2008), also Rock ‘n’ Roll on Broadway and Dealer’s Choice in London. Executive producer of the films Ira & Abby, (Best Picture, L.A. Film Fesitval and HBO’s Comedy Film Festival) and Kicking It (Sundance). Mr. Smith founded and ran Omnipoint Corp., an innovator in digitial wireless cellular. After a three-way merger, OC became part of VoiceStream, which was sold to T-Mobile, in the second largest international transaction in history.
STEVE SEMLITZ/CATHY GLASER
Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glaser (Producer) Semlitz and Glaser finally make it to Broadway (with Sam’s help)! Off-Broadway: tick, tick…BOOM! They are also founding directors of the Migraine Research Foundation, a nonprofit that supports scientific research into migraine’s causes and better treatments. We are thirlled to be a part of this amazing production.
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Sony Pictures Entertainment (Producer) Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America (SCA), a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution; television production and distribution; digital content creation and distribution; worldwide channel investments; home entertainment acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities; development of new entertainment products, services and technologies; and distribution of filmed entertainment in more than 130 countries. Sony Pictures can be found on the World Wide Web at sonypictures.com
Mungioli Theatricals, Inc. (Casting) Currently: Francesca Zambello’s Little House on the Prairie starring Melissa Gilbert (National Tour); Recent tv/film: Nickelodeon; The Entertainer (E!); Broadway/Nat’l Tour: Ragtime, Fosse, Show Boat, Candide, Sunset Boulevard, Kiss of the Spiderwoman, Joseph… with Donny Osmond; Off-Broadway: Jewtopia, Evil Dead The Musical; Marko The Prince, Richard Maltby’s Sixties Project; Disney: High School Musical, The Lion King, Aladdin, When You Wish; Regionally: Trinity Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville; Cleveland Playhouse; Pittsburgh CLO; North Shore Music Theatre; Casting Director Arnold J. Mungioli is a Member of the Casting Society of America, and has been honored with two Artios Awards and the CSA Media Access Award. www.mungiolitheatricals.com
TRUE LOVE PRODUCTIONS/JEANNE DONOVAN FISHER AND LAURIE GILMORE
True Love Productions/Jeanne Donovan Fisher and Laurie Gilmore (Producer) Broadway: The Norman Conquests, 33 Variations, 13, A Catered Affair, Well, Medea, The Retreat From Moscow. Off-Broadway: True Love, Vienna: Lushaus (Revisited), bobraushenbergamerica, The Tricky Part, Shockheaded Peter, Suitcase, Everything Will be Different, Paradise Park, Coraline. Regional: Rocket to the Moon, Hotel Cassiopeia.
KNITTING FACTORY ENTERTAINMENT
Knitting Factory Entertainment (Producer) is a producer, manager and distributor of universal music content, owning and operating music venues across the country. The company encompasses Knitting Factory Presents, Partisan Records, High Adventure Management and Knitting Factory Records, proudly partnering with Kalakuta Sunrise on the current release and distribution of the Fela Kuti music catalogue.
Special Friend of the Show
SANDRA IZSADORE is a singer composer who during the early 1970’s met and revitalized Africa’s revolutionary genius FELA ANIKULAPO-KUTI. Upon meeting Sandra, Fela’s musical and political ideas changed radically, thus Afro-Beat was born. Sandra is the only featured vocalist on Fela’s music. The song Upside Down, which was a hit in 1977, up to today is considered a classic of Afro-Beat music. It is through her single-handed influence as a midwife for this genre. Sandra Izsadore is called The Mother of Afro-Beat. Sandra Izsadore is immortalized in Fela’s own Biography Fela Fela This Bitch of a Life written by Carlos Moore in 1982, one chapter is dedicated to her.Once again true to her cause Sandra has found a new voice. Horrified by the accounts of friends who detailed the atrocities and conditions of Black people in the Marxist ruled island of Cuba, she decided to put her weight behind those who suffer most in Cuba. In tell the truth Fidel, a new song recently composed with a Malcolm X speech heard in the background. Sandra calls upon the Cuban leader to cease his oppression of Cuba’s Black majority. She uses Malcolm’s speech to convey her message to Fidel to stop the atrocities taking place in Cuba. She has given voice to a cause by doing what she knows best using her voice to sing for positive change.
This message is carried on in the Broadway hit, Fela The Musical. Through the eyes of the audience one can live the American experience of 1969 as depicted by the characters in the musical, based upon the true story, novel written by Carlos Moore direct quotes from Fela. You get a glimpse of the influence Sandra had on Fela. True to her innate cause of humanitarianism Sandra continues to fight for World Peace, Justice and Equality for all.