Its a small world! Indeed for Destiny’s Child alum, Michelle Williams, and myself it is! She will be taking on the role of Sandra in the latest tour of Fela scheduled to tour the world!
She and I both played in Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida back in the day I was her *standby at that time. And now she will play afro-beat queen Sandra Izsadore. Sandra, notably is a activist, and performer and former girlfriend of Fela Kuti. She helped to infuse some of the political tone and strife to the Nigerian-born music man who would become a leader in jazz and African music.
I’ll be excited to see Michelle in Fela! For those of you who don’t know, Fela! is the story of one of Africa’s most well known and prolific musicians, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a Nigerian man who’s music and very lifestyle stirred both hearts and controversy during his 20 plus years entertaining the world with his innovative “afro-beat genre of music”. I played Sandra Izsadore in the Original Broadway production and also sang on the Grammy nominated cast recording of Fela! along with Sahr Ngaujah (ABC’s Last Resort) and Kevin Mambo (Cadillac Records). We appeared with director Bill T. Jones in Vibe magazine during my shaved head days:
Miss Williams will be having a great year as she reportedly has new management and also recently signed to Light Records, I copped her first recording and will definitely purchase the next. When we were on Broadway with Fela, Michelle came to see the show and gave me congratulatory hugs. She was playing the role of Roxie Hart in “Chicago”, in the theatre right across the street at the time. A class act, she sent me flowers the very next day! So most definitely must return the favor! I’ll never forget the fab white suit wore to her opening night party as Aida when we played at the Palace theatre. Although I’m currently in broadway’s Motown the Musica,l I continue to champion the story of Fela Kuti and to be a supporter of the show, because the powerful music and piece of history the show represents. My friends, leading men Duain Richardson, and Adesola Osakalumi will be headlining the tour along with the talented Danny Soto and “afro-soca” lady Shakira Marshall. On the SayconTalks blog look to the right under Favorite Links and click the Fela tour link for show dates.
*A standby is a sort of built in person who can resume a character at any moment and perform a role during special appearances or in the absence of the primarily advertised actor.