Patti LaBelle Lands Major Role FELA! Play Backed By Jay-Z, Will Smith

(AllHipHop News) Legendary R&B singer Patti LaBelle has joined the cast of the Tony Award-winning broadway musical FELA!. The Grammy Award-winning singer will take over the role of Fela's Kuti's mother (Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti starting this September. LaBelle decided the role was right for her, after seeing the show, which is executive produced by rappers Will Smith and Jay-Z, amongst others. "I am both thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of FELA! on Broadway," Patti LaBelle told in a statement. "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. Fela's mother, Funmilayo, was a strong, truly inspiring woman and I am so privileged to be able to pay tribute to her on the Broadway stage." In June, FELA! won three Tony Awards for Best Sound Design of a Musical, Best Choreography and Best Custom Design of a Musical. The play is based on the life of Nigerian composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti.FELA!, which opened on Broadway in November of 2009, depicts Kuti as the target of 1,000 soldiers determined to put an end to his public performances at a legendary nightclub. Patti LaBelle will make her debut in the play FELA! on Tuesday, September 14th.