Director searches for 'Young Gong'
Shereita Grizzle, Gleaner Writer
The race is on to find a suitable actor to be cast as Bob Marley for an upcoming musical in Baltimore. According to online reports, the new musical is set to open in May 2015 and will feature a number of the late reggae legend's works, including songs from his albums Exodus, Kaya, and Rastaman Vibration.
The new musical was made possible through an agreement with Blue Mountain Music and Tuff Gong Pictures in Jamaica.
Written and directed by British-born playwright/actor/director, Kwame Kwei-Armah, the musical is said to be focused on a specific time in the singer's life and not his entire life story. "I said I would not do a musical about Bob's life story. Instead, I would choose a period in his life, 1975 to 1978, when there was an attempted assassination in Jamaica and he went into a self-imposed exile in London," Kwei-Armah told the Baltimore Sun.
Introduced to Marley's work during his childhood, Kwei-Armah told reporters that he had not responded to the music right away, but when he did, admitted that the reggae icon "took his breath away". So when theatre producers in London approached him with the idea for a musical, he agreed without hesitation. Their project was halted, however, as they could not attain rights to the icon's life story, only his music. They continued to work on getting the rights to Marley's life story, and their work came full circle late last year.
The Centre Stage Theatre in Baltimore has been chosen as the host venue for the musical which is scheduled to run from May 6 to June 14, 2015. The premiere will be a collaboration between Centre Stage and New York's Public Theatre.
Daughter of the late reggae icon, Cedella Marley, told the Baltimore Sun that the family is thrilled to be working with Kwei-Armah and Centre Stage. "When it comes to our father's work and legacy, we have always been mindful in selecting the artistes with whom we choose to collaborate. We are thrilled to be working both with Kwame and with Centre Stage to bring part of our father's story to life in a way that has never been done before," she said.
Casting for the musical is set to begin soon.