Broadway’s just gotten way more cool. AOL Black Voices reports that Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have signed on to help produce Fela!
The hip-hop trio, who also helped to bring beauty brand Carol’s Daughter to the world’s attention, have been negotiating the terms of their production for weeks. Jay, Will and Jada join producers Richard Kornberg, Billy Zavelson and Tommy Wesley in bringing the musical based on African musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life to Broadway.
They aren’t the first rap stars to take an interest in Fela’s story, though.
"It’s uncut. It’s true to the vision. It’s amazing!" The Roots drummer ?uestlove emailed to hundreds of people about the off-Broadway version of Fela! "There is no option. I expect death to be the only reason why you did not see this production. Get off your ass and see this now."
Fela!‘s turn on The Great White Way is met with an extra $11 million in funding to get it ready for its November 23 debut at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York. The show will star Sahr Ngaujah (who played the lead role in the off-Broadway productions) and understudy Kevin Mambo as Fela. Tony Award-winning performer Lillias White will play Fela’s mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
– Whitney Teal