The National Theatre of London is coming to Madison's Sundance Cinemas. Officials for the Hilldale movie house are announcing today that the National Theatre of London Captured Live series will debut with screenings of Fela! on Jan. 31 and Feb. 5 at Sundance.
Presented in conjunction with the UW African Studies Program, the Fela! screenings herald Sundance's launch of a variation on Metropolitan Opera Live screenings and other special events mounted in recent years at other movie houses.
Staged by the compelling choreographer and recent Kennedy Center honoree Bill T. Jones, Fela! blends dance, theater and music to convey the story and cultural impact of renowned Nigerian composer and multi-instrumentalist Fela Anikulapo-Kuti (1938-1997), whose pioneering Afrobeat blend of African harmonies and rhythms with funk, jazz and other music idioms propelled his status and boosted his leverage as a political and human-rights activist.
The original Broadway production won three 2010 Tony Awards, including one awarded to Jones for best choreography, before its exportation to London and the National Theatre.
Tejumola Olaniyan -- a UW-Madison professor of literature and cultural studies, and author of Arrest the Music!: Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics is scheduled to introduce two screenings, the first at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 31, and the second at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5. Prof. Olaniyan will also facilitate a discussion scheduled to follow the Feb. 5 showing. Tickets for each screening are $17 at Sundance Cinemas Madison.
Future screenings in the National Theatre of London Captured Live series include productions of King Lear (12:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26; and 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28), Frankenstein (12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2; and 7 p.m. Monday, April 4), and Cherry Orchard (12:30 p.m. Saturday, July 16; and 7 p.m. Monday, July 18).