Splendid but initially disquieting news this morning: The Broadway production of Fela! (way more info about that here) is moving to the National Theater in London later this year, in an only slightly stripped-down production that’ll feature the same alternating titular stars as in the Broadway version (Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo), playing for an audience perhaps better acquainted with Fela’s music (he’s got strong London ties, etc.) than we Americans. Great. But the piece neglects to mention: Does that mean the Broadway production is shutting down?
In a word, no. Fela‘s PR folks confirm that the Broadway show will go on; Ngaujah and Mambo will fly to England one at a time and handle the vast majority of the performances there, with the one left behind doing the same here. (Both of those dudes are going to be really tired.) Since opening in November, it’s done solid business, attracting a steady stream of celebrities (Madonna!) and doing not exactly Billy Elliot-type numbers, but certainly filling enough seats (83.8 percent capacity, in Playbill‘s last roundup) to stay afloat.
So: Fela. Moving to London. And also staying here. Good for them, good for us.