New Vic to Stage BOB MARLEY'S THREE LITTLE BIRDS, 2/7-23
A jammin' new musical with live accompaniment featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Bob Marley, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds shares the legendary reggae artist's message of peace and love with a new generation of songbirds. Opening the day after what would have been the singer and songwriter's 69th birthday, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds performs at The New Victory Theater on 42nd Street in Times Square from February 7 - 23, 2014.
In Cattawood Springs, a small village on the island of Jamaica, three little birds sing their sweet songs to Ziggy, a very shy child who prefers to see the world from the television in his room. But with the help of his feathered friends and his nagging neighbor Nansi, Ziggy is reminded in soothing six-part harmony that "every little thing gonna be alright." Inspired by a picture book written by Cedella Marley and Gerald Hausman about the Bob Marley song of the same name, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds is a collaborative creation between the Marley family and Adventure Theatre MTC, who premiered the production as part of the theater's African-American Adventure series. With its tie to the cultural heritage of Jamaica, the musical now makes its New York premiere during Black History Month.
"I wanted to find a work that celebrates culture without making race a plot point and discovered 'Three Little Birds,'" says Adventure Theatre MTC producing artistic director Michael J. Bobbitt, who worked closely with Ms. Marley to weave story, song and dance into a new musical for kids. "Even though Jamaica is not an American province, Bob Marley and reggae has influenced a lot of African American culture, and plus, kids love the music!"
In addition to the title song, Bob Marley's Three Little Birds includes the hits "Jamming," "One Love," "Roots Rock Reggae," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Natural Mystic," "So Much Trouble in the World," "Lively Up Yourself," "Is This Love," "Please Don't Rock My Boat," "Riding High," "I Know," "Running Away," "Duppy Conqueror" and the West Indies children's song "Brown Girl in the Ring."
"Dad had so many kid-friendly songs," agrees Ms. Marley, who began writing about ten years ago and has written three other books for children. A mother of three, she hopes that her story can help kids look past whatever fears they may have; as her character Mother Cedella tells Ziggy, "There may be dangers outside, but you cannot be so scared you don't enjoy the world."
The multi-talented cast of Talibah-Aquil (Female Swing), S. Lewis Feemster (Duppy), Ayanna Hardy (Cedella), David Little (Doctor Bird), Michael J. Mainwaring (Ziggy Understudy), Jobari Parker-Namdar (Ziggy), Tara Lynn Yates-Reeves (Tacoomah), Jade Wheeler (Nansi Understudy), Brittany N. Williams (Nansi) and Galen J. Williams (Male Swing) bring the lyrics and messages of Bob Marley's original tunes to life and Bobbitt adds to the creative team as the producing artistic director, choreographer and playwright. Arrangements, orchestrations and additional music and lyrics are by John L. Cornelius, II, Nick Olcott is show director, Adi Stein is assistant director and Darius Smith is music director and keyboardist. Set design is by Jos. B. Musumeci, Jr., with props design by Andrea "Dre" Moore, lighting design by Brian S. Allard and costume design by Kendra Rai. Martita Slayden is production manager and stage manager, and Will Richardson is assistant stage manager.
Tickets for Bob Marley's Three Little Birds at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street) are $25, $18, $12 and $9 for Members based on seat locations, with full price tickets starting at $14.