Written and directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, One Love: The Bob Marley Musical is an update of Kwei-Armah’s Marley, which had a successful run in Baltimore in the United States two years ago. As in Baltimore the part of Bob Marley is played by Mitchell Brunings. The production has the full backing of the Bob Marley Estate and access therefore to the singer’s entire musical catalogue; songs featured include No Woman No Cry, Redemption Song, Exodus and Jamming.
Like a biopic of the story of the reggae superstar, Kwei-Armah’s work concentrates on the period of Marley’s career between the assassination attempt on his life in Kingston in December 1976 and his return to Jamaica for the One Love Peace Concert in April 1978. The One Love Peace Concert was an event that Bob Marley inspired into existence, an effort to cause a cessation in the vicious civil war in which the island had become embroiled.
Whilst away from Jamaica Bob Marley lived largely in London, where he recorded his classic albums Exodus and Kaya.
The choice of Birmingham as the musical’s UK launch city is a reflection of the area’s large number of residents of Caribbean origin. ‘Birmingham is a natural place for its UK premiere,’ said Marley’s daughter Cedella. ‘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.’
It is expected that One Love: The Bob Marley Musical will transfer to a London theatre later this year.