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Afrobeat Musical Fela! to Perform at Latitude

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Highlights from Afrobeat musical Fela!, which transfers to Sadler's Wells from 26 July (previews from 20 July) following its run at the National Theatre last year, will be performed at this year's Latitude Festival.

The performance will take place on Latitude's Waterfront Stage on Sunday 17 July, the last of the festival's three days. Sahr Ngaujah returns to the musical's title role, and will perform at Latitude with the show's 25-strong cast.

Directed by Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T Jones, Fela! uses dance, theatre and music to explore the extravagant, decadent and rebellious world of Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti. Critical of the political regime in his native Nigeria, Fela Kuti was constantly harassed, arrested over 200 times and savagely beaten.

He continued to live in Nigeria and produced in excess of 70 albums during his career, touring to the United States and Europe. When he died in August 1997, a million people attending his funeral. Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award nominated Sahr Ngaujah returns to the title role, having played the part in both New York and at the National.

Speaking about Sadler's Wells work being presented at Latitude, the theatre's artistic director and chief executive Alistair Spalding today said in a press statement: "Latitude Festival continues to provide us with a platform to present dance to a wider audience beyond our theatre. We are delighted to be returning to the beautiful surroundings of The Waterfront Stage for a fourth year with an exciting and varied programme of dance which will appeal to all Latitude goers and dance enthusiasts alike."

Initially launched for a month-long Off-Broadway run in September 2008, Fela! won the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical and three 2010 Tony Awards including Best Choreography. Having closed on Broadway on 2 January 2011 the show marked the first time a production had played simultaneously in New York and at the National, where it was performed in rep with Rory Kinnear's Hamlet.

Fela! features a book by Jim Lewis with additional music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan Mclean. The show features several of Kuti's best known songs including "Everything Scatter", "Water No Get Enemy" and "Zombie".

Also announced today, the Olivier Award-winning Rambert Dance Company, which celebrates its 85th anniversary this year will perform their commission; Tim Rushton’s Monolith on the Waterfront Stage on Saturday 16 July.

Artistic Director of Danish Dance Theatre for 10 years, British-born Rushton returns to the UK to create his first piece for a British dance company, inspired by mystical energies that haunt sites of man-made gathering places.


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