In line with the theatre’s Pan African outlook, the musical presented chronicles the complicated life and times of the late legendary musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, also known as Fela Kuti, or simply Fela. From birth to life as a defiant and uncompromising social activist, a flamboyant musical maestro and his historic marriage to his 27 wives (known as the Queens), the story of Fela and his Kalakuta Queens is a compelling one, while at the same time deeply moving and emotionally engaging. It travels through the honest and selfless love the icon had with his dancers (Queens) who left their homes to follow him, believing in his vision of building a better community through arts and music.
The musical also explores the lives of these women who constituted an integral part of his band and gives a unique insight into the negotiation of gender and power relations at the Kalakuta Republic, while also showcasing their unique fashion, dance and African identity, and unmasking common misconceptions about them. Following a successful premiere in their home country capital, Lagos in 2017, Fela and The Kalakuta Queens Musical has without a doubt become a sensation across the globe.
Award-winning Writer and Director of the musical, Bolanle Austen Peters works with prolific choreographers, Paolo Sisiano and Justin Ezirim, and revered composer, Kehinde Oretimehin on the production. The character of Fela is projected by both Laitan “Heavywind” Adeniji and Patrick Diabuah who lead the thirty-six members cast, backed by a fifteen-piece band in the ensemble.
“Nigerians form a strong community in promoting Nigerian and African culture in notable cities around the globe. We believe that a historic and cultural production like Fela and the Kalakuta Queens will be received well in South Africa – considering Fela’s iconic status and the increasing interest in afrobeat internationally,” said Peters.
Artistic Director of the State Theatre, Aubrey Sekhabi comments; “We have a thriving community representing the diaspora in Pretoria and believe that this will bring them out for theatrical entertainment. While entertaining and spectacular, the story of Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens is a timeless critique of post-independence Africa, with strong commentary about greed, corruption, abuse of power, underdevelopment and African leaders’ relationships with their former colonial masters. The message in the music was as relevant during Fela’s time as it is today.”
Fela and the Kalakuta Queens will be on stage from 27th March until 7th April 2019. Tickets can be purchased from R150-R350 at Webtickets (online at www.webtickets.co.za or at Pick n Pay stores nationwide). The show has a 13 years age restriction. Webtickets is State Theatre newly contracted service provider for ticket sales.