Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

Tony Award Winner and Smash Hit FELA! is Coming to Philadelphia at the Academy of Music, March 20-25

JANUARY 24, 2012

Tickets On Sale Now!


FELA!, the most critically acclaimed musical of the season and the recipient of three 2010 Tony Awards, will play the Academy of Music  for a limited engagement March 20 – 25, 2012 as part of the Broadway Season, presented by The Kimmel Center and The Shubert Organization.  The press opening is Tues., March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets ranging in price from $20 to $100 are now on sale. Tickets can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, at the Kimmel Center box office, Broad & Spruce streets (open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)  or at the Academy of Music box office, Broad & Locust streets (open during performances only).  Groups of 10 or more will receive discounts for select performances by calling 215-790-5883 or 866-276-2947.  Performances include:  Tuesday – Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday evenings at 8 p.m.; Sunday evening at 6:30 p.m. and matinees Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.

FELA!, directed by Bill T. Jones, is a provocative hybrid of dance, theatre and music exploring the extravagant world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. The show has become an international sensation having been performed in three continents.


A triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, FELA! is the true story of Kuti, who created a type of music, Aftrobeat, and mixed these pounding eclectic rhythms (a blend of jazz, funk and African rhythm and harmonies) with incendiary lyrics that openly attacked the corrupt and oppressive military dictatorships that rule Nigeria and much of Africa.  Featuring many of Fela Kuti’s most captivating songs and Bill T. Jones’s visionary staging, FELA! reveals Kuti's controversial life as an artist and political activist and celebrates his pioneering music.

Olivier and Tony Award-nominated actor Sahr Ngaujah will lead the cast of FELA!. He is joined by Melanie Marshall and Paulette Ivory, who co-starred with Ngaujah in the Olivier-nominated Royal National Theatre production.

The production received its world premiere Off-Broadway in September 2008, and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, before transferring to Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre in November 2009 where its accolades included three 2010 Tony Awards®, for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Design, and an Astaire Award for Bill T. Jones’ choreography.

Critics around the country were effusive in their praise.  The kinetic energy pulsing from the music and dancing of FELA! prompted Ben Brantley of The New York Times to say “There should be dancing in the streets.”  Peter Marks of The Washington Post described it as “electroshock for the soul” and Charles McNulty added in The Los Angeles Times that FELA! was “the most exuberant musical I’ve seen this season” and “the fusion of his (Fela’s) sound is rapturously celebrated with a pinwheel parade of pelvises.” 

FELA! is directed and choreographed by Bill T. Jones, with a book by Jim Lewis and Bill T. Jones, and music and lyrics by Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Conceived by Bill T. Jones, Jim Lewis and Stephen Hendel, the design and Tony Award winning costumes are by Marina Draghici, lighting design by Robert Wierzel and the Tony Award winning sound design by Robert Kaplowitz.

FELA! is produced in association with Shawn ‘Jay-Z’ Carter, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, Ruth & Stephen Hendel, Roy Gabay, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Edward Tyler Nahem, SlavaSmolokowski, Chip Meyrelles/Ken Greiner, Douglas G. Smith, Steve Semlitz/Cathy Glazer, Daryl Roth/True Love Productions, Susan Dietz/Mort Swinsky, Knitting Factory Entertainment and with Ahmir ‘Questlove’ Thompson.

The Broadway Season is presented by The Kimmel Center and The Shubert Organization with productions at the Academy of Music, Forrest Theatre and Merriam Theater

In addition to FELA!, the Broadway Season includes: WEST SIDE STORY (Mar. 27 – Apr. 8, 2012) along with RAIN – A Tribute To The Beatles (Jan. 31 – Feb. 5) and the premiere of a spectacular new production of Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (June 5 – 10, 2012), all at the Academy of Music.  In addition, RIVERDANCE returns (May 11 – 13, 2012) at the Merriam Theater.

KIMMEL CENTER, INC., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center.  Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts Merriam Theater. Our mission is to operate a world class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience which includes providing arts in education, community outreach and a rich diversity of programming. The 2011/2012 season is sponsored by Citi. For additional information, visit

THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION owns and operates 21 theatres in New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, DC and continues its involvement in the presentation of distinguished theatrical productions. Under the leadership of Philip J. Smith, Chairman and Robert E. Wankel, President, the firm continues its tradition of producing distinguished theatrical attractions. These include Hugh Jackman Back on Broadway, Sister Act, That Championship Season, Passing Strange, Equus (w/Daniel Radcliffe), A Steady Rain, God of Carnage, Cats, Sunday in the Park with George, Dreamgirls, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway, Lettice & Lovage, Passion, the original production of Amadeus and many others .  The Shubert Organization is dedicated to the revitalization of the American theatre.  Its activities include the restoration and modernization of it is theatres and participation in civic and community affairs. Shubert Ticketing provides superior box office, call center and marketing services, as well as online products for live entertainment venues across the country.

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