(The cast of the musical. Photo by Monique Carboni.)
Seeing Fela!, the bio-musical about Fela Kuti, creator of Afrobeat, at the Curran Wednesday night reminded me of theater's capacity to expose and educate.
I'd never listened to Afrobeat before, but what a great route it is out of my British Invasion/Motown/jazz standards rut. I can't get enough of the sax. I attempt to describe the genre in my review of the musical, which appeared on the Exhibitionist this morning.
(Listen to this as you read this post/instead of reading.)
Of course, I shouldn't have to be reminded that theater has the capacity to teach; that should be par for the course. Why and how did I come to feel this way? In general, when I'm at a show, is my mind open? Do I avoid shows that don't directly relate to my own life? Is the theater scene at large complicit, reluctant to challenge its audiences and critics by putting hitherto underrepresented arenas of the human experience onstage?
From now on, I need to address all three of these questions more explicitly as I choose which shows to cover.
In the meantime, Fela! continues through Dec. 11. Show info here.