Music and lyrics by Bob Marley,
Written and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah
Performances will run May 7* to June 14, 2015
at Center Stage in Baltimore
Center Stage announced this week the full cast and creative team for the world premiere production of Marley, a new musical with music and lyrics by Bob Marley, and written and directed by Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. The production will run May 7* to June 14, 2015 at Center Stage in Baltimore.
Telling the story of a pivotal moment in Bob Marley’s life in the late 1970s, when he spent two years of self-imposed exile in London after surviving an assassination attempt in his home in Jamaica, the musical marks the first time Marley’s legendary music has been featured in a biographical context on the stage.
Kwei-Armah says: “We are so fortunate to have assembled such a brilliant group of actors who are recognized for their stellar work on television and film screens and stages all over the world – from Broadway to London’s West End, and Jamaica to Baltimore – to tell the story of this remarkable chapter in Bob Marley’s life.”
Joining previously announced Mitchell Brunings, who plays Bob Marley, is a company of distinguished actors and musicians.
Playing Rita Marley is Saycon Sengbloh, (Broadway: Motown, Fela!, Hair, The Color Purple, Wicked and Aida).
Mykal Kilgore (Broadway: Motown and Hair. National Tour: The Book of Mormon) plays another music legend, Stevie Wonder, in Marley.
Crystal Joy, (Broadway: Motown and Hair. National Tour and Regional: Legally Blonde, Memphis, The Wiz and Dreamgirls) plays backing singer and star in her own right Judy Mowatt.
Ano Okera (National Tour: RENT. Regional: Dreamgirls and West Side Story) plays producer and filmmaker Don Letts.
Marley’s dance captain, Khetanya Henderson, (Regional: Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles/Love Show in Las Vegas, Hairspray, A Chorus Line and Legally Blonde. Film: Hairspray and Enchanted) is also playing the role of Diane Jobson.
Playing Peter Tosh from the Wailers is Michael Luwoye (Regional: Tick, tick … BOOM!, Hairspray and Guys and Dolls).
Jaime Lincoln Smith (Gleam at Center Stage. Broadway: Holler If Ya Hear Me. Off-Broadway: Ruined, Seed and Birthright) plays Marley’s friend and artist Neville Garrick.
Susan Kelechi Watson (Broadway: A Naked Girl on the Appian Way. TV: Louie, The Following and The Blacklist) plays backing singer Marcia Griffiths.
John Patrick Hayden (Broadway: Tartuffe. Regional: Born Yesterday, Death of a Salesman and Other Desert Cities) plays Island Records founder Chris Blackwell.
Luke Forbes (Off-Broadway: The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino) plays Tek Life, Jamaica Labour Party enforcer.
Don Guillory (Broadway: Romeo and Juliet and Stick Fly) plays Don Taylor, Marley’s manager.
Howard W. Overshown (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead at Center Stage. Broadway: Julius Caesar. Off-Broadway: Richard III and Blue) plays Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley.
David Heron (Off-Broadway: Coriolanus-The African Warrior and Antony and Cleopatra) is cast as Tony Welsh, People’s National Party enforcer.
John-Andrew Morrison (Off-Broadway: The Tooth of Crime, The Blacks and Ain’t Supposed to Die a Natural Death) plays Claudie Massop, JLP enforcer.
Shayne Powell (Off-Broadway: The Black That I Am) plays Malakai, a close friend of Marley’s.
Other members of the company include Kena Anae (Carly Barrett), Jonathan Hooks (Family Man), Michael Rogers (Rasta Elder), Damian Thompson (Bunny Wailer) and Michaela Waters (Cindy Breakspeare).
Baltimore-area ensemble members include: Christopher Dews, Tracey Farrar, Gary-Kayi Fletcher, Victoria Harper, Bill Hurlbut, Kyle Jackson, Jeff Kirkman III, Mawk, Allison McLean, Marili Mejias and Olu Butterfly Woods.
The Marley creative team is: Kwame Kwei-Armah (director, playwright), Jason Webb (music director), Kenny Seymour (music supervisor), Germaul Barnes (choreographer), Neil Patel (scenic designer), ESOSA (costume designer), Michelle Habeck (lighting designer), Shane Rettig (sound designer), Alex Koch (projections), Oskar Eustis (dramaturg), Gavin Witt (dramaturg). Stage managers for the production are Lloyd Davis Jr. and Gwen Gilliam.
Suzette Newman and Chris Blackwell for Stageplay, Ltd., are producers, with Jessica R. Jenen serving as general manager.
After surviving an assassination attempt in 1976, Marley left Jamaica for London, where he spent nearly two years in self-imposed exile. Chronicling the events surrounding this pivotal moment, Marley tells the story of a man transformed into one of the 20th Century’s most important cultural figures. Set in the soundscape of an era, this new musical weaves together the life and music of a man who, to heal himself, had to heal his homeland. Marley will feature music composed by Bob Marley — including, among others, songs from Exodus, Kaya and Rastaman Vibration, written when the production is set.
For more information, visit www.centerstage.org and www.marleymusical.com, or call the box office at 410.332.0033.
For cast headshots, visit https://www.centerstage.org/ShowsandEvents/Marley.aspx#5494324-cast–crew
* First preview has been moved to May 7, 2015.
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About Bob Marley
Bob Marley is one of the most important and influential artists of the 20th Century. In the digital era, Marley has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page now surpassing 69 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. His music catalog has sold more than 50 million albums worldwide since 1992 and his accolades continue, including an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame and the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001). Bob Marley was the first Jamaican artist to gain worldwide fame. A musical, political and even spiritual icon, a figure of almost mystical proportions, no artist has so dominated his genre in the history of modern music as Marley has reggae. For more information on Bob Marley, visit: www.bobmarley.com.
About Center Stage Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE is an award-winning British playwright, director, actor and broadcaster. At Center Stage he recently directed One Night in Miami…, Amadeus, dance of the holy ghosts (City Paper Top Ten Productions, 2013), The Mountaintop and The Whipping Man (named Best Director). In 2014, Kwame was named Best Director in City Paper’s Best of Baltimore, and he was a finalist for SDC’s Zelda Fichandler Award for Best Theater Director. Among his works as playwright are Elmina’s Kitchen, Let There Be Love, A Bitter Herb, Statement of Regret and Seize the Day. Beneatha’s Place debuted at Center Stage in 2013 as part of The Raisin Cycle. He has served on the boards of London’s The National Theatre and The Tricycle Theatre, and as artistic director for the World Arts Festival in Senegal. He was named the Chancellor of the University of the Arts London, and in 2012 was named an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
About Center Stage
Under the leadership of playwright, actor and director Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE (Artistic Director) and national arts leader Stephen Richard (Managing Director), Center Stage is an artistically driven institution committed to engaging, entertaining and enriching audiences through joyous and bold performances. Hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “a model of what regional theater can and should be,” Center Stage has, for more than 50 years, dedicated itself to exploring new works and bringing classics to life. This rich history is marked by critically acclaimed new works that have shaped the American theater— from the Tony Award-winning The Triumph of Love to world premieres such as Miss Evers’ Boys by David Feldshuh and On the Verge by Eric Overmyer. In 2013, Center Stage’s production of the Tony Award-winning Clybourne Park in repertory with the world premiere of Kwei-Armah’s Beneatha’s Place became the subject of a nationally broadcast PBS documentary, “A Raisin in the Sun Revisited: The Raisin Cycle at Center Stage.”
Full production credits follow:
Music and Lyrics by Bob Marley Book by Kwame Kwei-Armah
The Cast (in alphabetical order)
Kena Anae * Carly Barrett, musician
Mitchell Brunings* Bob Marley
Luke Forbes* Tek Life, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) enforcer
Don Guillory* Don Taylor, Bob’s manager
John Patrick Hayden* Chris Blackwell, record producer
Khetanya Jati Henderson* Diane Jobson, Bob’s lawyer
David Heron* Tony Welsh, People’s National Party (PNP) enforcer
Jonathan Hooks* Family Man, musician
Crystal Joy* Judy Mowatt, I-Three singer
Mykal Kilgore* Stevie Wonder, musical superstar
Michael Luwoye* Peter Tosh, one of the Wailers
John-Andrew Morrison* Claudie Massop, JLP enforcer
Ano Okera* Don Letts, music producer
Howard W. Overshown* Prime Minister Michael Manley
Shayne Powell* Malakai, Bob’s close friend
Michael Rogers* Rasta Elder
Saycon Sengbloh* Rita Marley, Bob’s wife
Jaime Lincoln Smith* Neville Garrick, Bob’s art director
Damian Thompson* Bunny Wailer, one of the Wailers
Michaela Waters* Cindy Breakspeare, Miss World
Susan Kelechi Watson* Marcia Griffiths, I-Three singer
Ensemble Christopher Dews, Tracey Farrar, Gary-Kayi Fletcher, Victoria Harper, Bill Hurlbut, Kyle Jackson, Jeff Kirkman III, Mawk, Allison Mclean, Marili Mejias, Olu Butterfly Woods
Lloyd Davis, Jr.* Stage Manager
Gwen Gilliam* Assistant Stage Manager
Kayla Whisman and Marian Jackson Stage Management Interns
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association
The Artistic Team
Kwame Kwei-Armah Director
Kenny Seymour Music Supervisor
Jason Webb Music Director/Additional Arrangements
Germaul Barnes Choreographer
Neil Patel Set Designer
ESOSA Costume Designer
Michelle Habeck Lighting Designer
Shane Rettig Sound Designer
Alex Koch Projection Designer
J. Jared Janas Wigs/Hair/Makeup Designer
Oskar Eutis, Gavin Witt, and Catherine María Rodríguez Production Dramaturgs
Geoffrey Kent Fight Director
Leigh Wilson Smiley Vocal Coach
Samantha Godfrey Acting Coach
Khetanya Jati Henderson Dance Captain
Pat McCorkle Casting Director
Ano Okera Dialect Coach
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