It’s about courage; about letting go and embracing the unknown.
That’s what Ziggy must learn in New Venture Theatre’s production of “Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.” The children’s musical opens Friday, March 4, in Independence Park Theatre.
Ziggy spends his days inside watching Jamaica’s one television station.
Never leaving home means not having to face the dangers of his Jamaican world, but Ziggy’s friend, Nansi, is having none of that. Wanting to see him get past his fears, she challenges him to draw water from the ocean.
“Three Little Birds,” was written by Marley’s daughter, Cedella, and features some of her father’s most famous reggae songs.
“Along the way, Ziggy runs into different characters, one being Duffy, who collects hair from children,” says director Dorian Wilson. “He has to overcome this obstacle to make it to the ocean, then back to the market, where his mother sells her jerk chicken.”
As for the three birds in the story’s title, they oversee Ziggy’s adventure.
“This isn’t so much a fable as it is a story of courage,” Wilson says. “Ziggy is discovering a new world.”
The musical is new to Wilson, who directed New Venture’s production of “For Colored Girls When the Rainbow is Enuf.” That cast was filled with women, while the cast for “Three Little Birds” is stocked with five children and three adults.
“I teach theater at the Mentorship Academy and teach summer theater classes through BREC, so I’m used to working with children,” Wilson says. “The children in this play have come through New Venture’s theater classes, so they’re experienced on the stage. They’re so talented, and they sound amazing when they sing.”
They perform Marley’s reggae classic “Is This Love” when Nansi gives Ziggy a kiss on the cheek, and the Marley favorite “One Love” near the end of the show.
Additional original music was written by John L. Cornelius II, all of which is performed to an instrumental track.
“We don’t have a live band, which would have been great, but the track is great,” Wilson says. “Alisha Valvry is our musical director, and Anne Tangi is our choreographer. And the kids look and sound amazing because of them. This play is so different, and I’m glad we’re doing it, because we’ve never seen anything like it in our city.”