(GIN) – Nigerians across the internet are cheering the new Broadway music and dance interpretation of the life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti – a dynamic political dissident, composer and uncompromising cultural icon – as staged by African-American choreographer Bill T. Jones.
The production – called simply "Fela!" – has already won the hearts of critics across the country. A piece in The New York Times titled "Making Music Mightier Than The Sword" gushed: "There has never been anything on Broadway like this production."
Fela, already renowned across several continents, is just arriving on American shores.
"I saw Fela! at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on Broadway on 11/13/09 and I must confess, it was one of the greatest performance I ever saw," wrote Ndy Ukwe. "The actors are so good, you'd think you were actually in the Africa Shrine in Lagos. Combining music with yabis, acting and chroniculing his life story and his quest for his special kind of music, Fela! is a total entertainment with special stage effects… This is a must-see, even if you dont know anything or never heard anything about Fela. 70 percent of the audience are White but everybody ended up gyrating to the music and enjoying themselves."
"I saw the show for the 3rd time this week," wrote "Ona", "and had to say something. As a Nigerian, I sympathize with my countrymen who say "it is not run by a Nigerian" and "they changed a few of the lyrics". However, Chinese and Indian food does not taste the same in America as it does in the home countries.
"The director did the best he could to translate the story for a wider audience and successfully so (it was packed). I recommend all Nigerians go and see this show. When last was an African featured on Broadway? By the third song, you'll probably have nostalgic goosebumbs and will be singing along with the band."
Ade A, echoed her sentiments: "We Nigerians do not know what we have lost in a phenomenal person like Fela.
Fela and his philosophy should be taught in our schools including University if we are to make it out of the present state that we are in, not that he smoke or other vices, but about the truth he sang about that are still evident all around us today.
Long Live Fela!