Fela Kuti Reissues Out Today, Fela! Concert In Brooklyn Bridge Park, Fela! Musical Closing (Patti LaBelle Joined The Cast)

Fela Kuti Reissues (Knitting Factory Records)
Fela! Reissues
Download: Fela Kuti – “Zombie” (mp3)

Tuesday was a big day for Fela Kuti aficionados as 11 newly reissued CDs dropped from the Nigerian afrobeat master.

Knitting Factory Records will release the third set of Fela reissues. This portion of the reissues series, entitled “Zombie” in celebration of Fela’s most well known song, spans the years 1976 – 1980. Containing 11 albums, this period of Fela’s storied career saw his Kalakuta Republic increasingly under siege from the Nigerian government, and the clear rise of his vitriol as it fermented into scathing musical diatribes. 13 CDs and 23 albums have already been re-released this year through this landmark reissue series, and the reaction has been rapturous as Fela’s music continues to find new audiences every day.

In other related news, a free concert featuring Sahr Ngaujah, Antibalas and the music of Fela Kuti will take place at Pier 1 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park on October 4. The concert is part of the Fall 2010 season at St. Ann’s Warehouse.

The Music of Fela Kuti
A Free Concert on Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Sahr Ngaujah and the Band from
Fela! on Broadway
Aaron Johnson, Music Director
Monday, October 4, 6:30 P.M.

In its longstanding tradition of evenings paying tribute to musical
luminaries, St. Ann’s Warehouse will present The Music of Fela Kuti, a free
concert on the panoramic Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. On October 4, the
magnetic Fela! star Sahr Ngaujah, and the live band from the Broadway show,
will perform Kuti’s music.

Last but not least, on Tuesday, September 14, Patti LaBelle joined the cast of Fela! on Brodaway, taking over the role of Funmilayo originated by Lillias White. On a sad note, however, the Tony winning show is slated to close on January 2, 2011. If you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, I highly recommend it, you can get discount tickets over here.

Check the St. Ann’s Fall 2010/Spring 2011 season schedule and the full list of Fela Kuti reissues after the jump.

The Fela Kuti titles that are being re-released today (Sep 14) are:
Zombie (1976)
Upside Down (1976) / Music of Many Colours (1980)
Stalemate (1977) / Fear Not For Man (1977)
Opposite People (1977) / Sorrow, Tears and Blood (1977)
Shuffering & Shmiling (1978) / No Agreement (1977)
V.I.P. (1979) / Authority Stealing (1980)

The next group of reissues will be released in the winter.


The Music of Fela Kuti
A Free Concert on Pier 1 in Brooklyn Bridge Park
Sahr Ngaujah and the Band from
Fela! on Broadway
Aaron Johnson, Music Director
Monday, October 4, 6:30 P.M.

In its longstanding tradition of evenings paying tribute to musical
luminaries, St. Ann’s Warehouse will present The Music of Fela Kuti, a free
concert on the panoramic Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park. On October 4, the
magnetic Fela! star Sahr Ngaujah, and the live band from the Broadway show,
will perform Kuti’s music.

The early-fall outdoor concert-a perfect way to experience what is perhaps
the city’s most beautiful season-makes accessible (free) two landmark
artistic phenomena: cast members from the groundbreaking, Tony-winning
musical and the catalog of one of the 20th century’s most seminal musical
figures. Few others are as well equipped to perform Fela Kuti’s songs as the
Sierra Leonean Ngaujah, whose charisma rivals Kuti’s, and his backing band,
which includes members of the highly acclaimed Antibalas Afro-Beat
Orchestra. Music Director, Aaron Johnson, has chosen songs from Kuti’s vast
canon with the musicians and singers-including some of the Queens who sing
backup in Fela!-to create a concert distinct from the musical.

The concert builds upon St. Ann’s celebrated history of special tribute
concerts: Nick Drake, Tim Buckley, and The Fugs’ Tuli Kupferberg, to name
just a few.

Funds for The Music of Fela Kuti in Brooklyn Bridge Park have been provided
by The New York City Council through the New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs: Speaker Christine Quinn, Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., Stephen
Levin. Special thanks go to Borough President Marty Markowitz and Stephen
and Ruth Hendel. The concert is presented in association with Brooklyn
Bridge Park.

Lawn capacity is limited and will be available on a first come, first served

American Premiere
By Enda Walsh
Directed by Mikel Murfi
October 23-November 14
Opening: October 27

“I have given myself to a possibility of love with you! But you have turned
me into this, you have reduced me, Penelope┼á to a fat man in SPEEDOS.” It’s
11:30 A.M. and already it’s 92 degrees out. At the bottom of a drained
swimming pool, four ridiculous men face their inevitable deaths, and play
for an unwinnable love.

Based on the final chapter of Homer’s The Odyssey, Penelope is the newest
play from Ireland’s Druid, written by 2010 OBIE winner Enda Walsh. The
American Premiere, on the heels of a Fringe First Award at the 2010
Edinburgh Fringe, is St. Ann’s third collaboration with Druid and Enda
Walsh, following the critical and popular hits The Walworth Farce and The
New Electric Ballroom.

The play has garnered much acclaim from UK critics. The Sunday Times says,
“The delicate interplay of knockabout comedy, verbal humor and philosophical
themes is super and calls the production “a box full of brilliant shards.”
The Sunday Independent concurs that “this is extraordinary theatre,” and The
Irish Independent promises, “You will never have seen anything like this

American Premiere
Kneehigh Theatre
The Red Shoes
A Story in One Act or Brave Children and Adults (8+)
Based on the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen
Adapted and directed by Emma Rice
November 19-December 12
Opens: November 23

Following the success of last season’s Brief Encounter, Kneehigh Theatre
returns to St. Ann’s Warehouse with their seminal production of The Red
Shoes directed by Emma Rice, adapted from Hans Christian Anderson’s dark
folk tale.

In this haunting story, a girl can’t resist her red shoes. They make her
dance with delight and spin with possibilities. But what happens when
temptation becomes obsession? When she can’t stop dancing? And when she
can’t take them off?

Kneehigh has created a fun and menacing cabaret that is at once surreal and
sensuous, quirky and profound, bloody and bare-with muscular dancing,
characteristic hi-jinks, and haunting overtones.

London’s The Times calls The Red Shoes “a luscious physical fairytale”; The
Guardian describes it as “delirious, witty and macabre”; and The Observer
deems the work “giddy, grisly and gorgeous.”

The Red Shoes is presented in association with Piece by Piece Productions.
Special thanks go to The Winston Foundation.

American Premiere
The Interminable Suicide of Gregory Church
By Daniel Kitson
January 6-30
Opens January 9

British playwright and stand-up comedian Daniel Kitson brings his
“infinitely rich and effortlessly theatrical” (The Guardian) style to St.
Ann’s Warehouse in the American Premiere of the show to see at the 2009
Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Gregory had fifty-seven letters to write. He’d never written that many
letters, not in one go. In fact, he’d never written a single letter and it
was taking significantly longer than he’d anticipated. He’d started, full of
optimism, curiously enough, at 9 am and now here he was 8 hours later half
way through letter twenty four. He glanced at his watch and then at the
noose hanging over his head.

Gregory sighed.

Had he known how long suicide letters take, he thought, he wouldn’t have
cancelled the milk for the morning.

The Interminable Suicide is a story of a death postponed by life. The
Telegraph calls the show “unbelievably good,” and The Independent says it
“is an ingeniously simple and hopeful piece of work, turning loneliness into

Steve Cuiffo is Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce at “Carnegie Hall”
50 Years to the Night
February 4, 8:00 P.M.

On February 4, 1961, New York was deep in a state of declared emergency: two
feet of snow on the ground and still falling; winds of 80 mph. The brilliant
young comedian Lenny Bruce had a hugely important midnight show scheduled at
Carnegie Hall and had been sweating his way north from Miami for two days.
Would anyone show up? In sub-zero temperatures, with an official ban on
driving? Indeed they would, two thousand strong, arriving by slow-moving bus
and subway and their own two feet.

What they saw was arguably Lenny’s greatest performance, an
adrenaline-fueled be-bop, beyond worthy of the dogged efforts his audience
had made to be there. Free-associating at light speed, Lenny hit his marks
with thrilling accuracy-philosophizing, rhapsodizing, criticizing,
downsizing subjects as forbidding as the flag, being Jewish, the Catholic
Church, race, homosexuality and drugs.

On the 50th anniversary of this landmark Bruce performance, Cuiffo will
deliver a sublime, hyper-real, verbatim resurrection of the great American
thinker’s prophetic monologue. The show culminates several years Cuiffo has
spent immersed in Bruce’s artistry, which Cuiffo began when he performed a
two-minute, Bruce-impersonating sketch about the war on terror as part of
The Foundry Theatre’s Major Bang. When that show had its world premiere at
St. Ann’s in 2006, The New York Times proclaimed, “Lenny Bruce is brought
back from the dead in the form of Mr. Cuiffo.”

The Bruce estate then contacted Cuiffo and encouraged him to continue the
act, granting him access to the comic’s notes and life. Cuiffo has studied
the bulk of Bruce’s recorded material and presented portions of it in
various shows and venues such as Joe’s Pub and Lincoln Center’s American
Songbook series. New York Magazine has called Cuiffo’s impersonation
“masterful” and “eerily accurate,” adding, “[Cuiffo] gives contemporary
audiences a sense of [Bruce’s] anarchic presence.”

Steve Cuiffo is an actor and magician who creates solo shows and works
collaboratively with a range of artists. A collaborator of Rainpan 43, he
has created original works such as Steve Cuiffo Is Lenny Bruce and The
Amazing Russello Magic Hour. His performing credits include The Wooster
Group’s North Atlantic, Radiohole’s Fluke, The Foundry Theatre’s Major Bang
and The Roaring Girle, Donald Byrd’s Byrdlesque and Tea Alagic’s The
Filament Cycle.

World Premiere
Nico Muhly
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Tell the Way
Featuring Nico Muhly, Bishi Bryce Dessner and Sam Amidon
February 10-12

With Tell the Way, the beloved Brooklyn Youth Chorus, whom The New York
Times calls “a polished ensemble of miniature professionals,” moves into
commissioning and producing new work. This piece also marks a return to St.
Ann’s for the Chorus, following their role in Lou Reed’s Berlin.

Tell the Way is a multi-movement collaborative work from contemporary
composer Nico Mulhy, whom New York Magazine has called “one of the next
great hopes for the future of classical music,” for a small ensemble and the
Chorus. Loosely based on medieval and colonial English travel narratives,
the work draws from American folk sources, prayers for the Royal Navy, early
colonial diaries, Mandeville, Herodotus and Marco Polo. Muhly’s music is
propulsive travel-music, but at the heart of the work are three meditative
collaborative works between Muhly, Bishi and Amidon. The voices of these
collaborators shade the overall work providing a more radical context for
the virtuosity of the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. A small ensemble of strings,
percussion, piano, and flute augment the choir, along with Bryce’s guitar,
Sam’s banjo and fiddle, and Bishi’s sitar.

American Premiere
Frantic Assembly
National Theatre of Scotland
Beautiful Burnout
By Bryony Lavery
Directed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett
Music by Underworld
February 25-March 27, 2011
Opens February 27, 2011

Inspired during St. Ann’s acclaimed engagement of Black Watch, National
Theatre of Scotland’s Beautiful Burnout, winner of a 2010 Edinburgh Festival
Fringe First Award, is about the soul sapping three-minute rounds that
determine which young men become gods and which gods become mortal.
Conceived by Frantic Assembly directors Stephen Hoggett and Scott Graham,
and written by Tony-nominated playwright Bryony Lavery (Frozen), Beautiful
Burnout arose from Hoggett’s observations of young boxers in training at
Brooklyn’s famous Gleason’s Gym. Hoggett became intrigued with both the
beauty and brutality in the movement and distress of the live boxers. It
resonated with the authenticity of the drilling and soldiering he explored
so brilliantly as choreographer of Black Watch, coupled with similar class
issues among working class youth seeking transcendent ways to escape, in
this case, through amateur fighting.

Set in a Glasgow boxing ring, with a powerful soundscape by Underworld,
Beautiful Burnout is a stunning immersion in the visceral world of boxing
that “surely, is the closest that dance-drama will ever come to the contact
sport itself” (The Independent). The Scotsman says of the production:
“What’s striking is┼áthe world of possibilities opened up by its staging,
that allows us to look at it from angle after angle, exploring the poetry,
horror, beauty and sheer danger of beautiful young bodies in motion
[Beautiful Burnout] features a series of performances so eloquent, and so
blazingly committed, that they sometimes leave the audience gasping.”

Beautiful Burnout is funded in part by the Scottish Government and the
Robert Sterling Clark Foundation.