The Broadway musical “Fela!” may be closing in January, but it is going out in style. Grammy Award winner Patti LaBelle is planning to join the cast at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Sept. 14 as Fela’s mother, Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, a spokesman for the show said on Thursday. “After seeing the show, I was struck by the choreography and work of Bill T. Jones, and the passion and joy that overflows from the stage,” Ms. LaBelle said in a news release. Fela Kuti, a musical superstar in his native Nigeria, used his popularity to oppose the repressive military dictatorship there during the 1970s and ’80s. The musical is set in the nightclub where Fela (played alternately by Sahr Ngaujah and Kevin Mambo) regularly performed his pioneering Afrobeat music. Ms. LaBelle reunited last year with the members of the group Labelle, Sarah Dash and Nona Hendryx for an album, “Back to Now.” But she has also been taking care of business. She has written five books, including three cookbooks, and sells her own collection of wigs and a line of signature sauces and marinades called — what else? — Lady Marmalade.
(Courtesy: New York Times)