Ordway Blog: Stay connected here with what is happening at Ordway and take a look at what is going on behind the scenes.
Mon, Jun 18, 2012 1:46 PM by Hannah Arkelin
The three-time Tony Award winning musical FELA! produced by Jay Z , Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith opened at the Ordway direct from Broadway last Tuesday night. Tuesday was also the launch of a new program called Blogger Night at the Ordway and it was a huge success!
Below are a few of the reviews from our guest bloggers who saw FELA! on opening night and joined the audience in a standing ovation!
“Fela! at the Ordway”: by Brett Burger
“Rave Review: Fela!”: by Stephanie Kwong
“Fela! on Broadway”: by Michelle Wermerskirchen
“It was a beautiful time; it was a crazy time”: by Katherine Emmons
“Maelstrom of Music and Dance” : by Brenda Anderson
Think you’re a great writer? Do you have a blog? Want to be a guest blogger?
Send your blog URL to email@example.com! We are always accepting new bloggers so spread the word!
Fri, Jun 15, 2012 10:59 AM by Luke Anderson
Critics are buzzing about FELA! at the Ordway! Below are several local reviews from this week's performances.
Star Tribune, "Afrobeat music is the weapon in 'Fela!'," By Graydon Royce
Pioneer Press, "Fela! tells a powerful story with spectacular staging," By Ross Raihala
MSHALE, "Fela! a production like no other," By Susan Budig
WCCO, "Curiocity: Fela! Packs A Powerful Punch," By Sara Boyd
Howwastheshow.com, "Fela at the Ordway," By Janet Preus
Lavender Magazine, "Fela! Bombards the Senses with Spectacle and Sound," By Kathleen Watson
Twin Cities Daily Planet, "It's a Felabration! 'Fela!' shines at the Ordway," By Bobby Kahn
Citypages blog, "'Fela!': No zombies here," By Ed Huyck
FELA! is at the Ordway through this weekend only! For ticket information, click here.
Fri, Jun 8, 2012 10:46 AM by Hannah Arkelin
Fela! will be shaking up audiences at the Ordway June 12-17th. This unique Broadway production won 3 of its 11 Tony nominations and is produced by Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith. I think we are all excited for the Broadway hit to cross the Ordway’s stage, but what makes Fela! so extraordinary is more than its inspiring success-it is the message it sends by telling the life and work of Fela Kuti.
Fela Kuti was born in 1938 in Nigeria to Yoruban parents. His mother was Funmilayo, a leading figure in the nationalist struggle and an obvious inspiration for Fela throughout his life. Originally sent to London to study medicine, Fela stayed true to himself and became a student at the Trinity College of Music where he formed his first jazz and highlife band. In 1967 he introduced the world to Afrobeat, a blend of funk, jazz, salsa and Calypso. He toured the US in 1969 and was introduced to the Black Power movement and American Jazz. An even more ambitious and inspired Fela returned home to Nigeria where he began to use music as a fierce weapon for social change.
The 70’s marked a change in Fela’s lyrics from themes of love to social issues. He was both fearless and eloquent when creating music, focusing on the substance rather than the consequences. He changed his middle name to Anikulapo meaning, “he who carries death in his pouch” confirming his intrepidness. In 1970, Fela formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, recording studio and home for many individuals connected to his musical family, declaring it independent from the Nigerian state. Raids on the Republic were abundant and after his performance of “Zombie”, a severe attack on Nigerian soldiers, the Republic was burned and destroyed. Fela was nearly beaten to death and his elderly mother was killed after being thrown from a window.
Far from defeated, he sent his mother’s coffin to the General’s residence and continued writing music that openly criticized and named perpetrators. In 1978 he married 27 women to mark the anniversary of the attack and in 1979 the musician put himself forward as a Presidential candidate after forming his own political party, Movement of the People. Although rejected from candidacy, Fela continued to motivate the people with his music, encouraging them to fight European Cultural Imperialism and to bring Africa to a united democratic republic built upon traditional African culture. With 200 arrests and countless beatings and setbacks, Fela never faltered and proclaimed, “Ah well, they didn’t kill me”.
Fela passed away in 1997 from AIDS, although many close to him believe it was from one too many beatings. However, his music continues to stir audiences even after his death. Fela played saxophone, keyboards, trumpet, electric guitar and the occasional drum solo. Refusing to trap his music within the desirable three-minute recordings, Fela’s songs are usually over 15 minutes each and once recorded, he never performed them live again, resulting in over 50 albums of rebellious music. His music and efforts have been reawakened in Fela! and Fela’s powerful message continues to inspire millions. Experience music for social change through Fela!. At the Ordway June 12-17th.
This blog is a group effort by Ordway staff, actors, artists, musicians, dancers and all those involved in the creative process of performances, programs and events at the Ordway to provide a behind the scenes look at what happens onstage, backstage and in support of the work presented at the Ordway. We also hope to discuss pertinent topics in our industry.
The purpose of this blog is to engage with you in the blogosphere. We wish to let you know that our posts do not go through any official editorial process for spelling, grammar or fact checking, therefore errors may occur – please be kind! Every blog post is open for public comment, questions or suggestions and the Ordway chooses not to pre-screen these responses. That being said, we do reserve the right to remove any offensive, illegal, or inappropriate content at the Ordway's sole discretion.
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