Genevieve Nnaji to star in Fela musical show ahead of Clubhouse premiere

Genevieve Nnaji to star in Fela musical show ahead of Clubhouse premiere
Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji, Nollywood actress, has been listed among the cast for an audio adaptation of ‘FELA!’, a Broadway musical billed to premiere via the Clubhouse app on May 15.

In a statement on Tuesday, organisers of ‘Fela Ten-Twenty’, the title of the audio adaptation, said Nnaji will play the role of one of the Fela’s dancers known as the ‘Kalakuta Queens’.

Fela was known to have married 27 women in a single ceremony in 1978.

Stephen Hendel, the original lead producer of the Broadway show, had earlier announced that the audio adaptation of Fela, written and directed by Funa Maduka, will be held on May 15, and 16.

Proceeds from the show will be used to support GEANCO, whose work provides full-tuition, healthcare, and social and psychological support to young female survivors of terrorism and gender inequality in Nigeria and across the continent.

‘Fela Ten Twenty’ will feature a new interpretation of Bill T. Jones’ and Jim Lewis’ ‘Original FELA!’ script. The production is to highlight the struggles of Fela, framing the #EndSARS movement in the context of his legacy.

While the adaptation is a nod to the original Broadway musical, ‘Ten Twenty’ represents the date of the shooting of the protesters by security forces at the Lekki toll gate in October 2020 amid the anti-police brutality movement.

Commenting on the development, Nnaji said: “The contemporary issues highlighted are what sold me. This is an artful retelling of Fela’s story and I’m honored to be a part of it. I grew up on radio plays.

“And the experience is nostalgic for me – the power of voice to influence minds and touch hearts is undeniable.”

Funa Maduka, ‘Fela Ten Twenty’ writer, director-cum-producer, also said: “I tripled speaking roles for women by bringing the voices of the Kalakuta Queens, women who fought and performed alongside Fela, to the forefront.

“Women have long been at the center of political movements, especially in Africa. To have a woman of Genevieve’s caliber play a Kalakuta Queen, only elevates this legacy of leadership, fortitude, and grace.”