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Three Little Birds Background

JAN 19 – MAR 1, 2020

Best enjoyed by Grades K – 4

Student Matinees

Three Little Birds Bird

Ziggy’s afraid to leave the house. He’s too busy worrying about tropical storms, evil spirits, and the sneaky, hair-grabbing trickster, Duppy. But, with the help of his feathered friends, Ziggy will learn that “every little thing is gonna be alright!” Don’t miss this timeless tale of peace and love that uses classic Reggae music to jam, Jamaican style!

Based on a story by Cedella Marley
Music and Lyrics by Bob Marley
Adapted for the stage by Michael J. Bobbitt
Directed by Shá Cage

  • Run time

    1 hour with no intermission

  • Best enjoyed by

    Grades K – 4

  • Stage

    UnitedHealth Group Stage

  • EDUCATOR GUIDE

About the Show


  • This show is a musical featuring the music of Bob Marley, performed by a small group of adult and student actors.
  • This show is based on the book Three Little Birds written by Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella Marley.
  • Jamaican phrases are used. Characters use phrases and count to eight in multiple languages including Spanish, Swahili, Chinese, and Hindi!
  • This production takes place on our UnitedHealth Group Stage which seats up to 745 people per performance.
  • We know that teachers are the best judge to determine the right fit for their unique group of students. We recommend Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds for students in Kindergarten-4th grade due to the content of this performance. Check out the synopsis and content advisories for full information.

Content Advisories


Language: 1 out of 5 stars
Jamaican phrases are used and characters speak in Jamaican accents. Characters use phrases and count to eight in multiple languages including Spanish, Swahili, Chinese, and Hindi.

Themes and Situations: 2 out of 5 stars
Nansi forces Ziggy to show her the color of his underwear because red underwear wards off the evil spirit. Nansi tries to kiss Ziggy. Nansi and Ziggy are chased by Duppy, an evil spirit who wants to steal their hair.

Violence & Scariness: 1 out of 5 stars
Duppy is an evil spirit who tries to steal kids’ hair. He can be intimidating. Duppy enters the audience area. Ziggy becomes angry. Ziggy discusses his fear of hurricanes.

Sensory Advisories: 1 out of 5 stars
Musical numbers can be loud.

Potentially Anxious Moments: 1 out of 5 stars
Ziggy feels anxious about the world and worries about hurricanes. Ziggy and Nansi become angry with each other and argue. Actors enter the audience area. A large friendly spider comes onstage.

Plot Synopsis

This is a complete synopsis of the play, so it is full of spoilers


In Cattawood Springs, Jamaica the townspeople are enjoying the beautiful weather and singing a medley of “One Love” “and “Jammin’.” Ziggy is looking for his mother when a trickster girl, Nansi greets him. Ziggy still cannot find his mother so he sneaks back inside his house to watch TV. His mother finds him and encourages him to turn off the TV and join the fun. Clearly, Ziggy is anxious about not having been able to find her and expresses his concern about the weather report for the day. He is concerned hurricanes or tropical storms will hit Jamaica. Nansi encourages him to watch something else but he only has one TV station. Mother encourages him to watch the world and listen to the birds singing. Ziggy asks where Big Daddy is and Mother explains that he is out fishing for dinner. Ziggy worries about his safety out at sea but Mother thinks Ziggy should dance with them. Ziggy reluctantly joins his mother and the villagers in a dance. After the dance, Ziggy tries to turn the TV back on but Mother scolds him and forces him outside.

Ziggy expresses his disgust towards the bugs, mongoose droppings and girls! Nansi greets Ziggy and compliments his hair. Ziggy leaves ignoring her attention. Nansi decides to change tactics and chases after him screaming that she doesn’t actually like his dreadlocks.

Duppy, an evil spirit bird, enters and is attracted to Ziggy’s hair. He sings “Natural Mystic” and explains that he has been collecting hair since 1596. He tells us about the people he stole the hair from. We learn he needs young people’s hair to keep his spirit on the ground. More hair means more power!

We see Ziggy back in his room with his three birds Doctor Bird, Tacooma and Montego. Doctor Bird teases him about how Nansi has a crush on him. Ziggy wishes that Nansi would just go live on the other side of the Blue Mountains. Doctor Bird explains how beautiful it is on the other side of the mountain and offers to take Ziggy but Ziggy refuses. Doctor Bird’s family lives on the other side of the mountain and he only comes to this side of the island during the cold months. Doctor Bird wants Ziggy to meet his family. They sing “So Much Trouble in the World.” At the end of the song, we see Duppy peeking through Ziggy’s window.

Mother enters and thinks something is wrong. She explains that she can feel Duppy drawing near but that Ziggy’s hair will keep him safe. Just in case, she counts to eight because counting to eight is unlucky for Duppy. Doctor Bird pokes fun that Nansi likes Ziggy’s hair, too, but Mother shoos him away. She tells Ziggy that he should keep his birds in cages but he protests saying that he can’t keep his friends in cages. Nansi appears and asks if Ziggy can come outside to play. Ziggy refuses to play with Nansi, saying that she cheats and they sing “Lively Up Yourself.”

Mother leaves to go to work where she sells jerk chicken to tourists at the ocean port. Ziggy worries that a hurricane will hit the port and his mother will be lost. She acknowledges that hurricanes can be scary but today, everything will be okay. Mother asks Nansi and Ziggy to fetch water from the well for tonight’s supper, and then come to the port to visit her at work. She will introduce them to people from all over the world. Ziggy refuses to come until he checks the TV weather report.

Nansi begins to sing and play “Brown Girl in the Ring” by herself. Ziggy asks her to go away but she has a gift for him. Ziggy is nervous because yesterday Nansi tricked him into cutting up the mango that his mother was saving for dessert and he was punished. Nansi promises that it is a special gift but she pulls out a spider. Ziggy exclaims that it is disgusting, but Nansi thinks the spider is beautiful. She reveals she named the spider Baby Ziggy.

They set off to get the water but Nansi wants to go straight to the ocean port. She tells him that well water is no good and that everyone knows ocean water is the best for drinking. Ziggy worries that Duppy will try to steal his hair. Ziggy tells him that in order to stay safe from Duppy he needs to wear red underwear and she forces him to show her his undies. She kisses him on the cheek and exists. Ziggy sings a medley of “Is This Love” and “Don’t Rock My Boat” with the birds. Again, we see Duppy try to catch Ziggy.

Ziggy and Nansi are exploring the island but Ziggy is anxious. They begin to argue and sing “Riding High.” The two separate and Duppy begins to follow Ziggy. A moment later, Nansi returns to apologize, but finds he is gone.

Ziggy laments that he didn’t stay home to watch TV. He and Doctor Bird sing “ I Know.” Ziggy tries to get Doctor Bird to see his side of the argument. Doctor Bird talks to him about forgiving Nansi and explore the island with her. They sing “One Love.” We learn about Doctor Bird’s history and meet his ancestors from Spain, Britain, Africa, China and India. As each ancestor joins the song, they bring their own beat and rhythm which affects the song and dance. Soon, we have a song that is influenced by each of the ancestors and reflects all of them. Each counts in their own language and brings their own traditional dance. Once again, we see Duppy try to catch Ziggy.

Nansi is still trying to find Ziggy and apologize. Duppy approaches her and asks to play. Nansi can sense this is a trick but doesn’t realize it is Duppy. She thinks maybe Ziggy has dressed up to trick her. She decides to trick him back and hide. Ziggy enters and runs right into Duppy. Duppy compliments his hair, but Ziggy can sense this might be a trick. He thinks it is Nansi playing a trick on him so he tricks Duppy into thinking a hurricane is coming and hides with Nansi. They realize that they can’t be tricking each other if they are both hiding in the same spot and realize who Duppy really is. A chase ensues while singing “Running Away.” They try many tactics to escape Duppy. Ziggy forces Nansi to offer her pet spider as a gift to Duppy. Duppy finds the spider adorable and they all count the legs. When they count to eight, we see Duppy’s hair beginning to fall off. The kids keep counting to eight in order to defeat him. Duppy exits crying and the kids go to the ocean port.

They arrive at the ocean port breathless from running. They both try to tell the story of their adventure but talk over each other. Mother encourages them to catch a breath. Ziggy explains that Nansi tricked him to come see her and see the whole island, how Doctor Bird taught him about the history of Jamaica and how they defeated Duppy. Ziggy asks if he can go to the other side of the island to meet Doctor Bird’s family and Mother gives him permission as long as he takes Nansi with him. They greet the tourists by singing “Smile Jamaica.”

Neighborhood Bridges Classroom with Breck interns

ALL AGES

Pre and Post-Show Workshops


Extend the field trip experience with a pre or post show workshop in your classroom or at CTC. These 1-hour interactive workshops develop personal relevance with the characters and themes of the play while engaging their body, voice and imagination. 

Email schools@childrenstheatre.org to schedule.

A Message from the Artistic Director


Learn more about Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds from Peter C. Brosius, CTC Artistic Director, as he sits down to talk about the show.

Target Cultural Experiences Program


In partnership with Target and the Minneapolis Public Schools, every second grade student in the Minneapolis school district will have the opportunity to attend a student matinee performance at Children’s Theatre Company,including transportation and additional curriculum support for educators. CTC will host professional development workshops for all second grade teachers to support educators in making connections between the powerful experiences of live theatre with learning opportunities in the classroom. Educators will walk away from their workshop with tangible strategies to align the live theatre experience with academic standards and to facilitate critical connections from text to stage.

Learn More

Bob Marley's Three Little Birds Student Matinee

JAN 19 – MAR 1, 2020

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Friday

Feb 28

11:30am