Original Broadway cast member Saycon Sengbloh will reprise her role in the touring version of “Fela!” which currently is being performed in Los Angeles. The return will be a week-long engagement that will last from January 1 to January 8 next year. Sengbloh once again plays the role of Sandra Iszadore in the Tony award winning musical that first debuted on Broadway in 2009.
“Fela!” is based on the music and lyrics of the late Nigerian musician and composer Fela Kuti, who was often known simply as Fela. A pioneer of the musical style that came to be known as Afrobeat, Kuti fused jazz, funk, rock and traditional West African chants into a distinctive music style that continues to be popular today. The musical focuses on Kuti’s life in the late 1970s when he was at the height of his music career. It goes on to display how Kuti became more and more involved activism and voicing his opposition to the military regime in Nigeria.
The original run of the show began in September 2008 at the Off-Broadway 37 Arts Theatre B and had a month-long run. A London show followed about a year after the Broadway opening in November 2010. In addition to Los Angeles, the touring version has been performed in Washington D.C. and Toronto. The Los Angeles stretch, which is being held at the Ahmanson Theatre, is scheduled through January 22.
In 2010, “Fela!” was nominated for 11 Tony awards, more than any musical that year. It would go on to win three of those awards for Best Choreography, Best Costume Design and Best Sound Design. It also was nominated for the Best Musical Show Album Grammy award the following year.
After her stint in “Fela!” Sengbloh will return to New York to begin rehearsals for her next project, “Hurt Village.” Opening at the Signature Theatre on February 27, “Hurt Village” stars Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson and was written by Katori Hall, who also wrote “Mountain Top.”