Skip to main content
Toggle menu Search Cart

This show is archived

Now Extended! Must Close August 20.

Co-produced with Round House Theatre
Round House Theatre and Olney Theatre Center combine forces for an epic co-production of the award-winning musical Fela!, the first professional production anywhere in the world since its national tour more than ten years ago.

Be transported to 1978, to meet musician, activist, and global superstar Fela Anikulapo Kuti at his farewell show at the Afrika Shrine nightclub in Lagos, Nigeria. After losing his own mother in a dictator’s violent attack, Fela’s final act in Nigeria is to use his iconic music—a spirited blend of traditional African drumming, jazz, and funk—to tell his story of survival and global revolution through Afrobeat and floor-shaking dance. The Tony Award-winning and Grammy-nominated musical “captures the spirit of rebellion…that dwells within all of us” (The New York Times) in the inspiring true story of one man’s fight against corruption and oppression.

"It was a win to land [Duain] Richmond [as Fela], who has previously played the title character, including as a Broadway alternate and on tour. But the accomplishment of this “Fela!” extends beyond its star, to its sound, design, dance, pacing and supporting turns, all synthesized into a show that does the Shrine proud."
- The Washington Post 7/18/23

Music and lyrics by
Fela Kuti

Book by
Bill T. Jones and Jim Lewis

(Additional music by Aaron Johnson and Jordan McLean)

Music Direction by
S. Renee Clark

Choreographed by
Breon Arzell

Directed by
Lili-Anne Brown

Fela! is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

2022-23 Season
Part of the 2022-23 Season

Helen Hayes Awards

  • Helen Hayes Awards

    Outstanding Production - Musical

    Outstanding Ensemble in a Musical

    Outstanding Supporting Performer in a Musical
    Melody A. Betts

    Outstanding Choreography in a Musical
    Breon Arzell

    Outstanding Director of a Musical
    Lili-Anne Brown

Cabaret Seats in the Africa Shrine

  • The set design for Fela! includes room for a limited number of audience members to sit next to the stage at cabaret tables in the middle of the action (scroll down to see a photo of the set). To feel any closer to Fela's Afrika Shrine nightclub, you'd have to buy a plane ticket to Lagos. There is room for two people at each table, and like a proper nightclub, you must be at least 21 years old to sit there.    

Purchase Cabaret-Style seating

Watch the trailer for "Fela!"


Audio Described Performance: Wednesday, July 19 at 8:00 pm
ASL Interpreted Performance: Thursday, August 10 at 8:00 pm

GalaPro captions will be available on your personal digital device. Download the app for IOS or Android.

Effects Warning: This production of Fela! uses theatrical haze, fog, incense, and loud sounds of simulated gunfire.

  • Malachi Alexander

  • Bryan Archibald

  • Terrence J Bennett

  • Melody A. Betts

  • Simone Brown

  • Patrick Leonardo Casimir

  • Shantel Cribbs

  • Jyreika Guest

  • Bryan Jeffrey

  • Raquel Jennings

  • Emmanuel Kikoni

  • Raven Lorraine

  • Vaughn Ryan Midder

  • Themba Mkhatshwa

  • Yewande Odetoyinbo

    Ensemble/US Funmilayo
  • Duain Richmond

  • Jantanies Thomas

  • Galen J. Williams

    Ensemble/US Fela
  • Jalisa Williams

  • Kanysha Williams

  • Shawna Williams


Please note: At select Saturday and Wednesday matinees beginning July 22, the role of Fela Kuti, normally played by Duain Richmond will be played by Galen J. Williams. This is indicated on the individual purchase page for the affected performances.

Melody A. Betts' final performance as Funmilayo will be Sunday, August 13. Yewande Odetoyinbo will assume the role for performances between August 16 - 20.

  • Breon Arzell

  • Jamie Berry

    Production Stage Manager
  • Kim James Bey

    Dialect Coach
  • Lili-Anne Brown

  • S. Renee Clark

    Music Director/Conductor
  • Kelly Colburn

    Projections Designer
  • Rueben D. Echoles

    Costume Designer
  • Sherrice Mojgani

    Lighting Design
  • Matt Rowe

    Sound Designer
  • Arnel Sancianco

    Scenic Designer
  • David Singleton

    Associate Choreographer

Fela's Live Band

Conductor/Piano - S. Renee Clark
Drums/Asst. Music Director - Lorenzo Sanford
Congas/Percussion - Carroll (CV) Dashiell
Trumpet - Joe Herrera
Trombone - Christopher Steele
Tenor Sax - Brent Birckhead
Baritone Sax - Leigh Pilzer
Guitar - DeAnte Haggerty-Willis
Guitar - Dòkun Oke
Bass - Reginald Payne

In The Press

  • NBC Washington - (Video) "'Fela!' musical in Maryland highlights Afrobeat pioneer"
  • The Washington Post - Review | "Exhilarating ‘Fela!’ is your ticket to the coolest club in Nigeria"
  • The Washington Post - Feature | "‘Fela!’ finds its way to Washington"
  • OkayPlayer'Fela!' Director Lili-Anne Brown's Ancestral Pilgrimage To The Stage
  • OkayAfrica - Fela! Star Duain Richmond on the Enduring Legacy of the Nigerian Icon
  • TANTV - "Fela! A Musical Theatre Immortalizes the Father of Afrobeat"
  • DC Theater Arts - "Round "House Theatre and Olney Theatre Center strike gold with ‘Fela!’"
  • Broadway World - "a splendid production not to be missed. Because who knows when it will ever come again — and as well done?"
  • MD Theatre Guide - "If you are lucky enough to get a ticket to see 'FELA!' it will be a performance you will remember for the rest of your life. "
  • Morris Theatre - "Fela! is an uproarious, exhilarating Afrobeat experience with spectacular direction and choreography, anchored down by stunning vocals and charismatic acting."
  • Washington Speaks - "Fela!  the new stage show which will leave you breathless..."

On The Blog

Upcoming Community Events

  • Viva Africa!

    When: Thursday August 3rd 2023 at 6:00pm

    Where: William H. Graham Actors' Hall

    $45 (Ticket includes Community Night mixer and theatre ticket

Past Community Events

  • Nigerian Story Hour at Olney Library

    Where: Sunday, June 25, 2023 from 11 AM to 12 PM
    Location: Olney Public Library (3500 Olney Laytonsville Rd, Olney, MD 20832)
    FREE (No registration. Just show up!)

  • Screening at the AFI Silver: "Finding Fela"

    When: Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at 6:45 PM
    Where: AFI Silver Theatre (8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910)
    Tickets: $8 - $13 via AFI

    FINDING FELA tells the story of Nigerian singer Fela Anikulapo Kuti's life, his music and his social and political importance. He created a new musical movement, Afrobeat, using that forum to express his revolutionary political opinions against the dictatorial Nigerian government of the 1970s and '80s. His influence helped bring a change toward democracy in Nigeria and promoted Pan-Africanist politics to the world. The power and potency of Fela's message is completely current today and is expressed in the political movements of oppressed people, who embrace Fela's music and message in their struggle for freedom. Directed by Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE). (Note courtesy of Kino Lorber.) DIR/PROD Alex Gibney; PROD Jack Gulick. U.S., 2014, color/b&w, 119 min. NOT RATED

The buzz on social media



July 7 - August 20 2023

Box Office: 301.924.3400

Open Wednesday - Sunday: 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Mailing list

Keep up to date with our latest events & offers:

Join our mailing list