‘Nesta’s Rock’ Musical to Rock The Rock

A musical tribute to reggae icon Robert Nesta Marley is slated to run from Jan. 9 to Jan. 22 at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

“Nesta’s Rock,” an original musical inspired by Marley’s childhood will be showcased at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the Mona campus and follows a young boy, named Ness, who grows up in Kingston with big dreams.

Those dreams are ridiculed by his friends and he soon finds himself on a magical journey. Parodying Marley’s youth the storyline loosely based on the legend’s early beginnings finds Ness transported to the whimsical farming village of Nine Miles – the actual birthplace of the reggae icon.

The musical is co-written by Jamaicans Samantha Chin Yee and Jodi Ho Lung who are members of the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company (JMTC).

The production will be choreographed by Tony Wilson, artistic director of The Company Dance Theatre.

Some of Marley’s popular tracks will be included in the production. Fans may revel to “Trench Town Rock,” “Redemption Song” and “Could You Be Loved.”

There is a buzz that Cedella Marley, eldest daughter and CEO of the Marley Group of Companies has endorsed the project and is enthusiastic about bringing it stateside.

“Over the past two years we at the JMTC have really been working on taking Brand Jamaica to an international audience through our productions,” the producers said. “We have been adding Jamaican elements to our performances.”

“The decision by Tuff Gong to come to us regarding this production is just perfect timing, and together we are looking to get Broadway’s attention with ‘Nesta’s Rock.”

Since Marley’s death May 11, 1981 at age 36, his legacy has endured with major anniversary concerts each decade. His 50th was marked with a marathon concert at 56 Hope Road where he lived and recorded many of his hits. The concerts attracted international press and fans that flew to the island from as far away as Zimbabwe, Africa. Marley’s 60th birthday anniversary, celebrated in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Africa, billed “Africa Unite,” included an art exhibition, soccer matches, symposium at the United Nations there, concerts — featuring Angelique Kidjo, Lauryn Hill, Marcia Griffith, Bob Andy, Judy Mowatt, Marley’s mother Cedella Booker and the entire Marley family — Rita, Ziggy, Cedella, Rohan, Stephen, Damian, Sharon, Stephanie, Julian and Robert.

Marley’s seventh decade celebration will also be marked with numerous events planned here.

In addition to concerts and plays, the countdown has begun to a global celebration marking the 70th anniversary birthday of the king of reggae, Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley.

Commemorating the Feb. 6, 1945 birth-date of the music legend, a number of significant events are planned. This year, Universal Music Group – where his discography is archived – the label has already announced plans for the release of a DVD/CD set of his 1978 concert at Boston Music Hall.

Due for a Feb. 10 release, “Bob Marley & The Wailers – Easy Skanking in Boston ‘78” compiles video footage of the concert filmed by a fan on June 8, 1978. Edited with added animation, the official release underscores previous bootlegged versions fans have long enjoyed.

Reportedly, previously undistributed and rare footage from Marley’s private collections will be included in this likely collector’s item. Allegedly, the label might release others throughout the year to represent seven decades of Marley magic.

Deluxe editions of Marley’s classic albums that will be augmented by rare and bonus material are also due.

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