Jay-Z, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have signed on as producers of the new Broadway musical “Fela!” and will attend the show’s opening night at the Eugene O’Neill Theater next Monday, Nov. 23, a publicist for the production said.
The three stars are among the investors in the play about the life of Nigerian singer/activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones choreographs and directs “Fela” using the pioneering Afro-Beat style of music Kuti created with his Black-Panther inspired group, Africa 70. Kuti was one of Africa’s most well known musicians and activists and was eventually imprisoned and released by the Nigerian government on a currency smuggling charge. The singer died in 1997 due to complications from AIDS.
Though the three megastars artistic involvement in the musical is bound to be minimal, given that the show is already in previews and had a critically acclaimed run Off Broadway last year, but their presence and likelihood of promotion is bound to raise the plays public profile.