The life and works of Fela Anikulapo Kuti has already garnered quite a bit of attention in recent weeks, what with news that the coming year will see the remastering and reissuing of all 45 of the Afrobeat superstar’s titles. But the big just bigger thanks to this brand newly surfaced tidbit: Jay-Z and Will & Jada Pinkett Smith have joined the producing team of Fela!, the new Broadway musical about the musician.
As the New York Times reports, Fela! represents the first time that Jay-Z and the Smiths have joined a producing team of a Broadway show. Their artistic involvement will likely be minimal, given that the show is already opened off-Broadway last summer. Instead, they’ll be doing the whole media thing — television appearances, interviews, and what not. Their first event will come on Monday, November 23rd when all three of the celebrity producers attend the official Broadway opening of the musical at the Eugene O’Neil Theatre.
Fela! is directed and choreographed by Tony Award-winner Bill T. Jones (Spring Awakening). Tickets for the show are currently available its official website.
As previously mentioned, the Broadway appearance proceeds what will be quite the Fela Anikulapo Kuti-filled 2010. Knitting Factory recently announced that throughout 2010 they will remaster and reissue all 45 Fela titles in unique digi-packs with the original artwork, each with a vinyl release and specially curated box-sets to come. This reissue series will mark the first time all of the titles will be released on vinyl in North America, and also the first official release of the entire catalog of Felas 1960s highlife band Koola Lobitos. The first release of the series, The Best Of The Black President, was released release month and compiles 13 of the most popular Fela compositions.
The deluxe edition of the CD comes with a DVD featuring segments from the film Music is the Weapon, performances from the Berlin Jazz Festival and Glastonbury Festival and interviews with choreographer/director Bill T. Jones and Fela biographer Carlos Moore. You can order it right here.