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Another Marley musical coming

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Anew musical based on the life of global reggae icon Bob Marley is set to hit the stage in London come next year to coincide with the 75th anniversary of his birth.

Reports indicate that the production which is yet to be named completed initial workshops in the UK this past week with a number of different select audiences being given the opportunity to view snippets of the production in order to provide feedback for the producers.

The new musical is being directed by Dominic Cooke whose credits include a revival of Follies which recently ran at the National Theatre. The story is written by another renowned theatre practitioner in Lee Hall who is the writer of Billy Elliot as well as screenwriter for Rocketman and has a sizeable hand in the eagerly anticipated screen version of the long-running musical Cats which is set to open later this year and stars Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, and James Corden.

This is not the first musical on the Jamaican singer and songwriter who was born in Nine Mile, St Ann, and came to prominence in the 1960s and 70s through his association with The Wailers initially and then a successful solo career. Marley is credited with brining reggae, Rastafari, and Jamaican culture in general to a global audience through his music. Some of his anthems include Redemption Song, Get up Stand Up, One Love, Africa Unite, Trench Town Rock and Iron Lion Zion.

Marley's rise was cut short on May 11, 1981 when he succumbed to cancer at the University of Miami Hospital in Florida. His funeral in Jamaica ten days later at the National Arena in St Andrew was a landmark event attracting thousands from all walks of life.

This new musical is being overseen by a production team comprising Playful Productions, Stage Play and Kwame Kwei-Armah and is said to have the support of the Marley family.

Kwei-Armah, who is currently artistic director at the Young Vic, a theatre located in Lambeth, London, which is known for nurturing young and emerging talent. He previously provided the the script for a Bob Marley musical called One Love, which opened in Baltimore in 2015 and was later adapted before running at the Birmingham Rep in the UK in 2017.