Bob Marley musical coming to Center Stage

Center Stage will produce "Marley," an original musical based on the life of Bob Marley that will incoporate at least 20 songs from crucial later-career albums "Exodus," "Kaya," and "Rastaman Vibration."

Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah is writing and directing the musical, which will run from May 6 to June 15, 2015, and will close out the company's 2014-15 season.

Kwei-Armah says, rather than try to tell Marley's entire life story, he chose to focus on the period between the attempt on his life just before the Jamaica Smile concert in 1976, after which he moved to London, and his return to Jamaica for the triumphant One Love concert in 1978.

"It's about the making of someone who I consider a hero," Kwei-Armah said in a phone interview. "Someone whose love of his country led him to put his life at risk. . . Bob is a large artist who speaks to all of us, especially the sufferers, the disenfranchised."

Kwei-Armah says he's completed a first draft of the musical, which will be honed in workshops over the coming months. It includes some of Marley's most famous songs, including 'Is This Love?,' 'Waiting in Vain,' and 'Exodus.' He is using the songs and Marley's life story with the support of the Marley family.

"We are thrilled to be working both with Kwame and with Center Stage to bring part of our father’s story to life in a way that has never been done before," Cedella Marley, Bob's daughter, said in a press release.

Kwei-Armah said he has begun the task of looking for an actor to play Marley and for a band to play the iconic music onstage.

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