Kwame Kwei-Armah is to direct the British premiere of One Love: The Bob Marley Musical that he previously wrote and premiered at Baltimore Center Stage, where he is artistic director. It will begin performances March 10, 2017, at Birmingham Repertory Theatre for a run through April 8.
The musical tells the story of a man propelled from rising reggae star to global icon, and brings Marley's music catalogue to the stage for the first time. To help unite his beloved homeland of Jamaica, which is on the brink of a civil war, he must first find his own peace.
Following an assassination attempt made on the eve of a concert organized to calm political tensions in an increasingly violent Jamaica, Marley left Jamaica for London, where he spent almost two years in self-imposed exile. Whilst in England, Marley recorded the internationally acclaimed albums Exodus and Kaya, the former staying in the British album charts for 56 consecutive weeks. In 1978, Marley finally returned to Jamaica, where the political situation had deteriorated, to perform the One Love Peace Concert. During the performance, at the insistence of Marley, the leaders of the two opposing political parties came on stage, where he joined their hands in symbolic unity, resulting in a transformative moment in the history of the country's difficult political journey.
Presented with approval of and in cooperation with the Marley family and Tuff Gong Pictures L.P. and developed with the support of Blue Mountain Music., Marley's daughter Cedella commented in a press statement, "On behalf of the Marley family I am thrilled that our father's story is going to be brought to the stage with this production. Birmingham is a natural place for its U.K. premiere. With its great mix of cultures, it's a city where my father performed to audiences that were captivated by his presence, and we have no doubt that telling the story through music to a new generation in Birmingham will be part of his continuing legacy."
Kwei-Armah added, "Few artists have had as big an effect on the world as Bob Marley. Even fewer as big an effect on me. I feel continually blessed and honoured to dance with Bob in this way."
The musical will be presented by Birmingham Repertory Theatre in association with Playful Productions and Stage Play Limited.
To book tickets and for further information, which go on general sale from October 7, visit birmingham-rep.co.uk.