A song about Bob Marley’s three backing, songbirds – The I-Three – is now a musical production and heading to a Times Square theater one day after his 69th birthday anniversary. The lyrics he penned and named “Three Little Birds” was transformed into a children’s book written by his eldest child Cedella and it is that version that is slated to open at the New Victory Theater on Feb. 7.
Described to be “a jammin’ new musical with live accompaniment featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Bob Marley,” the production “shares the legendary reggae artist’s message of peace and love with a new generation of songbirds.”
The premiere event kicks off 17 performances that begin on Feb. 7 and run thru to Feb. 23.
The story begins in “Cattawood Springs, a small village on the island of Jamaica where 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.”
“Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds” features a collaborative creation co-written by Cedella Marley and Gerald Hausman in conjunction with the Marley family and Adventure Theatre MTC. The latter premiered the production as part of the theater’s African-American Adventure series last year.
“I wanted to find a work that celebrates culture without making race a plot point and discovered ‘Three Little Birds,’” Adventure Theatre MTC producing artistic director Michael J. Bobbitt said.
Allegedly he 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,” he added.
In addition to the title song, also included in the musical are Marley 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,” Cedella Marley stated.
The author of three children books, the mother of three said 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 cast comprises 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) — all of whom bring the lyrics and messages of Bob Marley’s original tunes to life.
The New Victory Theater is located at 209 West 42nd St. in Times Square.
Friday 2/7 7pm
Saturday 2/8 12pm and 5pm
Sunday 2/9 12pm and 5pm
Saturday 2/15 12pm and 5pm
Sunday 2/16 12pm and 5pm
Monday 2/17 2pm
Wednesday 2/19 2pm
Thursday 2/20 2pm
Friday 2/21 2pm
Saturday 2/22 12pm and 5pm
Sunday 2/23 12pm and 5pm