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1.9.10 Booty Call

Fela is astonishing! One of the most vibrant and uplifting theatrical experiences you will ever see. You should treat yourself to a night out. The show has migrated from off-Broadway to the Eugene O’Neill theatre on 49th Street. Some heavyweight producers have signed on (Jay-Z, Will and Jada Smith) and luminaries in our packed house included Spike Lee (yes, wearing a baseball cap) and Oprah BFF Gayle King (sporting a Michele Obama-esque waist-cincher). Written by Jim Lewis and directed and choreographed by the legendary Bill T. Jones, this music and dance extravaganza is about Fela Anikulap-Kuti, the Nigerian creator of Afrobeat, a unique synthesis of highlife jazz, James Brown and traditional African rhythms. We saw Sahr Ngaujah in the taxing lead role, but some nights Kevin Mambo takes over. Apparently he is just as good. As incredible as Sahr is, and as smokin’ as is the on-stage band, the show for me was all about the nine female dancers. They represent the 28 women who worked and toured with Fela, all of whom he married in one big ceremony.
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Their performances are centered around their incredibly regal attitudes and their amazing booties, constantly rotating and shaking to the beat. The colorful and sexy costumes (designed by Marina Draghici, who is also responsible for the fine set), and the extraordinary makeup, are like the vivid plumage on rare birds. Their bodies range from Amazonian to tiny, from sinewy to well-muscled; they are all strong and supple and gorgeous.
Tagged — theatre