Entertainment

Musical on Marley's childhood to open next year

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, August 15, 2014    

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IF the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company (JMTC) and Tuff Gong International have their way, a musical based on the life of reggae king Bob Marley could be hitting international stages in the near future.

The two entities are partnering to mount Nesta's Rock next year, in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Marley's birth.

Nesta's Rock is an original musical inspired by Marley's childhood and follows a young boy, Ness, who grows up in Kingston with big dreams. Those dreams are ridiculed by his friends and he soon finds himself on a magical journey, transported to the whimsical farming village of Nine Miles.

According to producer at the JMTC Danielle Stiebel, Nesta's Rock reflects the company's thrust to introduce more Jamaican aspects into their productions.

"Over the past two years we at the JMTC have really been working on taking Brand Jamaica to an international audience through our productions. We have been adding Jamaican elements to our performances. The decision by Tuff Gong to come to us regarding this production is just perfect timing, and together we are looking to get Broadway's attention with Nesta's Rock," she told Splash.

The musical is co-written by Jamaicans Samantha Chin Yee and Jodi Ho Lung, both members of the JMTC. Choreography is by artistic director of The Company Dance Theatre, Tony Wilson.

The production will also see the remake of popular Bob Marley tracks, such as Trench Town Rock, Redemption Song and Could You Be Loved.

Nesta's Rock is scheduled to run at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies, Mona, from January 9 to February 22. There will be a special showing on February 6 -- Marley's birthday.

His daughter and CEO of the Marley Group of Companies, Cedella, is pleased to be associated with the project.

"The life of our father Bob Marley continues to inspire the young and the old as we continue to spread his positive message to the younger generation," she said.

Producers are currently preparing to cast for Nesta's Rock and will host auditions on September 6,7 and 9 at St Andrew High School in the Corporate Area. Auditions are open to Jamaicans between the ages of nine to 21.

Marley was born in Nine Miles, St Ann, but grew up in the rugged Kingston community of Trench Town. He died from cancer in May 1981 at age 36.

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