Will Smith To Produce Fela!

58801020It may be worth nothing that this decade’s most exhilarating new Broadway musicals were developed, at least in part, by creative carpetbaggers.

Like Spring Awakening in 2006 and Passing Strange in 2008, Fela!, which opened Monday at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, owes its electrifying score to artists who built their careers outside musical theater. In this case, they’re the lavishly gifted Nigerian bandleader Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who died from AIDS complications in 1997, and the Brooklyn-based group Antibalas, among his numerous disciples.

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Pictured: Actor Will Smith arrives at the screening of ‘Precious: Based On The Novel ‘PUSH’ By Sapphire’ during AFI FEST 2009 held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on November 1, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI).