‘Fela! The Musical’ Brings African Legacy To SF’s Curran Theatre

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — “Fela! the Musical” – based on a true story exploring the life of the late legendary Nigerian artist/activist/composer Fela Anikulapo Kuti – is currently on tour and playing at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco until Dec. 11.

The show, which has won three Tony Awards, is produced by Jay Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

>> CBS Local Events: Fela! the Musical

Fela captivated his audience with the soul Afro-beat rhythms played by a live orchestra igniting a generation. He defied a corrupt and oppressive military government, devoting his life to music to the struggle for freedom and human dignity.

He was tortured more than 200 times by the Nigerian government for his activism, while his mother was also killed by Nigerian leaders.

Cast member Melanie Marshall, who plays Fela’s mother in the production, revealed in an interview on CBS 5’s Bay Sunday that she was one of the few characters that doesn’t dance or sing.

“I play Funmilayo, (Fela’s mother) but I’m dead in the production, the story is taken up after her death,” Marshall explained. “(Fela) tried against the oppression of the Nigerian people to do better for his people, through his music. His slogan was ‘music is the weapon.'”

(Copyright 2011 CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved.)

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