With a book and direction by Center Stage artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, Marley will be presented May 6-June 14, the final production of Center Stage's 2014-15 season.
"When I first saw the YouTube clip of Mitchell singing 'Redemption Song' on 'The Voice,' I was mesmerized. I jumped on a plane and dashed to Holland to see him immediately. Having auditioned actors around the world for this role, I knew right away that he was a natural," Kwei-Armah stated. "His soulful, gorgeous voice and deep respect for Bob’s music and life make him the perfect fit for this production. For the last year, we’ve been assembling the cast and crew for this show, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our team."
"Bob Marley is a huge inspiration in my life and it's an overwhelming honor to be playing the legend in a new musical," Brunings added. "I am so excited to be working with Kwame and an amazing cast and group of musicians bringing the story of this pivotal moment in Marley's life to the stage."
Through an agreement with Blue Mountain Music and Tuff Gong Pictures, Marley will feature music composed by Marley—including, among others, songs from "Exodus," "Kaya" and "Rastaman Vibration," which were written during the period in which the production is set.
Marley, according to press notes, "explores a pivotal period in the singer’s life. In 1976, Bob Marley finds himself the target of an assassination attempt. Shaken by this act of violence in the country he loves, Marley leaves for London where he spends nearly two years in self-imposed exile. Chronicling the events surrounding this earth-shaking moment, Marley tells the story of a man transformed into one of the 20th Century’s greatest musical icons." “I came to truly appreciate Bob Marley during my own period of transformation as an artist,” Kwei-Armah said in an earlier statement. “Writing this piece is my way of paying tribute to all that I’ve learned from Marley over the years, and it is very humbling to have the opportunity to bring his story to the stage…For this piece, I wanted to collaborate with the very best minds. Having Oskar on board will give me the best chance a writer can have at fulfilling the potential of this piece.”
The full cast and creative team for Marley will be announced at a later date.
Born in the South American country of Surinam, Brunings came in second place on the Dutch TV show "The Voice of Holland" last fall, singing Marley's "Redemption Song." See his performance here: