But “Fela!” offers something that only the theater can provide — an immersion in Fela’s music, an encounter with his charismatically frenetic concert presence and a confrontation with his political style. The trade-off, trust me, is worth it.
Charles McNulty – LA Times
It’s part biography, part spiritual revival, and part defiant political diatribe, but, more than anything, “Fela!” is probably the most unusual cabaret entertainment you’ll ever encounter.
Les Spindle – Backstage
Deftly employing a carnival atmosphere to convey the Nigerian people’s centuries-long struggles, “Fela!” becomes both a gem of stagecraft and a poignant human rights statement.
Bob Verini – Variety
This is as stunning and as stirring and as brilliantly imagined a piece of commercial theater to come our way in a long time.
Harvey Perr – Stage and Cinema
Registering ten on the theatrical Richter Scale, Fela!is an earthquake of a musical about the life and wild times of the Nigerian singer/showman, Fela Kuti.
Willard Manus – Total Theater
What makes “Fela!” even more genius is that the creative team — which includes co-conceiver Stephen Hendel and Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean who wrote additional music (Carlos Moore wrote the authorized biography Fela: This Bitch of a Life on which the musical is based.) — surrounds this larger narrative with entrancing African dance sequences and concert performances that keep the audience spellbound.
Jessica Koslow – Culture Spot LA
It was like watching The Lion King on steroids.
Cynthia Citron – LA Examiner
Opening nights are special, but this is a show that will capture the heart of every audience, at every performance.
Chelsea Bernier – LASplash
Capturing the life of any icon is tough but Fela presents particular challenges. Just think of your typical theater subscriber confronting a dope smoking advocate of black power. But it’s this juxtaposition of form and context that makes Fela! thrilling.
Anthony Byrnes – Opening the Curtain
The entire cast beats with a pulse so vibrant that acting, dancing and song merge into an exuberant statement of conviction.
Rita Moran – VC Star
Now onstage at the AhmansonTheatre at the Music Center, the musical Fela! accomplishes something that many a road show cannot: fill the space with energy and excitement.
Leigh Kennicott – Stagehappenings
Fela! is not just any ordinary Broadway show, it’s an exhilarating experience!
Beverly Ejedawe – Valley Scene Magazine (opens in pdf)
In the end “Fela!” is disappointing as a theater piece.
Karen Weinstein – Culture Vulture
Fela! completely transforms that stuffy old barn called the Ahmanson Theatre into an Afrikan rave club. Despite some unfocussed storytelling within the second act, this show remains a triumphant tale of courage, passion and love, and an invigorating and true story of a legendary musician whose upbeat and catchy songs of rebellion were an inspiration to millions.
Pauline Adamek – ArtsBeatLA (remount)
Directed and choreographed by the famed Bill T. Jones and brought to life by big name producers Jay-Z, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, this show is not one to miss!
Ariel Paredes – Campus Circle (remount)
Rarely has a show so fully earned its exclamation point.
Jon Magaril – Blog Critics (remount)
Don’t miss your chance to experience Fela!
France Assefa – LifeInLA (remount)
Produced by Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Will Smith, and Jada Pinkett Smith, Fela! is an absolute must see. A politically charged story of art as a vehicle for human rights, Fela! is a truly refreshing piece of theater with a message that should be heard by all.
Savannah L. Barker – Neon Tommy (remount)
And we are lucky that this is so. A big “yeh-yeh” to that.
Evan Henerson – LA Examiner
Visually stunning, masterfully performed, and painfully powerful, “Fela!” tells the story of the Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti through his own music, narrative and dance.
Brenna Smith – EdgeLosAngeles (remount)
What the musical does so well, as written by Jim Lewis and the brilliant Bill T. Jones (along with Stephen Hendel), is to take a complex life and, using the defining music and political lyrics of a man who knew few laws (26 wives, numerous children, courageous and ill-advised attacks against the governing corruption around him) — made musical history.
Dale Reynolds – Stagehappenings
Los Angeles Music Center
135 N. Grand Ave., L.A.
8 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturdays, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sundays
THROUGH MAY 5, 2013
Tickets: $20 to $120; (213) 972-4400
Running time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
About the Author: We don’t “review” shows here at the Lemon, rather we "review" reviews by gathering them from a variety of local review sites around the internet, judging them to be positive or negative, then forming an aggregate score that we call a LEMONMETER RATING, showing how well that show has been reviewed in total. For more detail on how the LemonMeter works visit here.