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Center Stage transformed into Trenchtown during ‘Marley’ run

Written By | May 20, 2015

BALTIMORE, Maryland, May 19, 2015 – Once again the creative staff of Center Stage has rolled out all the stops to make its current world premiere production of “Marley” a total cultural experience.

As you enter the venue to see this new musical, the very first thing you’ll see in the lobby is a “Welcome To Trenchtown – Home of Reggae Muzic” welcome wagon that makes the space feel as if you had just touched down at Jamaica’s Kingston International Airport.

Games at Center Stage.

Games are part of the festivities during the Center Stage premiere of “Marley.” (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

If you come to enjoy this show (which you should), be sure to wear something comfortable (without heels), the better to experience the sandy Trenchtown streetscape that includes palm trees; an authentic shantytown shotgun shack; domino game tables in Jamaica’s national colors of black, green and yellow; and, of course, a DJ stand where live music and uninhibited dancing is encouraged.

As you proceed to the spacious first floor confines of the Pearlstone Theater, you will pass through corridors whose walls are transformed by election posters that transport you back to the political era of late 1970s Jamaica. Within the theater itself, reserved “dance passes” are available on the mezzanine level for those movement enthusiasts who find they just can’t stand still when the reggae music starts cranking up.

Manley Jamaican election posters.

Partisan politics in 1970s Jamaica? You bet. It’s all part of “Marley,” now at Center Stage in Baltimore. (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

Those coveted dance passes also allow the pass holders to rub elbows with a number of cast members, including the actors portraying political rivals Michael Manley and Edward Seaga. They show up to play to their political supporters at rallies where Marley’s music is adopted to become the background theme for the upcoming Jamaican elections.

Audience dancing at "Marley."

Dancing in the lobby at Center Stage’s “Marley.” (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

A suggestion: Do take advantage of the special Rum Punch and the sustainably grown, ethically farmed and artisan roasted Marley Coffee offerings from the bar. And if you’re making travel plans, pick up one of the Jamaican tourism guides offered by sponsors from the Jamaican Hotel and Tourist Association.

Of course, as the opening night audience is well aware, no Center Stage opening worth its salt happens without a knock-down, drag-out After Party featuring great food and an opportunity to dance and mingle with the cast.

READ ALSO: Center Stage world premiere of “Marley” presents the man and his music.

So buckle up your seat belts, kick off your flip flops to get the sand from between your toes, and head for Center Stage where “Marley” awaits to take you on a three hour journey through history and music. Needless to say, we do recommend you come early to enjoy the Trenchtown island setting that Center Stage has conjured up for your extended enjoyment.

"Marley" After Party. (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

“Marley” After Party. (Credit: Malcolm Lewis Barnes)

Malcolm Barnes

As a credentialed professional photo journalist, Mr. Barnes writes for the SQUARE BUSINESS journal, served as the Business Editor and columnist for the Washington Informer, and as the Community Development writer for The Common Denominator newspaper.