The creative team and cast for the upcoming Michael Jackson musical MJ have now been confirmed, with the production gearing up for an August 13 opening at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway. Previews will begin on July 6, with tickets sure to be in high demand on Ticketmaster. Early reports indicate that MJ will use the rehearsal process for Jackson’s 1992 Dangerous tour as the basis for the narrative, although the musical won’t be confined to just one time and place.
David Rooney received an exclusive first look at the set on behalf of The Hollywood Reporter, describing a Tokyo influence in the stage’s appearance, with set designer Derek McLane stating that some of the stories will take place in a gigantic rehearsal studio. However, the narrative will frequently shift into Jackson’s memories and imagination, which is why the versatile stage design will be able to transport both actors and audiences from the studio to all sorts of locations.
Ephraim Sykes, a Tony nominee for his role in Ain’t Too Proud, will tackle the titular role, with Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon in charge of direction and choreography. You can check out the guide from Playbill for a full list of the team involved with MJ, where it becomes clear that a string of esteemed names from musical theater has been handpicked for the challenge of bringing Jackson’s hits to life on stage.
King of Pop still reigns
The influence of Jackson on modern pop music is obvious, from the plethora of artists that have covered his songs to the way that he has inspired newer singers like Justin Timberlake to get their groove on. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that it has taken so long for a jukebox musical of Jackson’s hits to make it to the hallowed setting of Broadway, particularly when analyzing his continued appeal even after his death.
Betway conducted research on the posthumous success of music stars, and it is no surprise to see Jackson sitting atop the rankings. The King of Pop earned around $2.46 billion in the ten years following his death, which indicates that MJ should be a profitable show. More importantly from an artistic perspective, a key contributor to those earnings is the continued presence of Jackson’s hits on the radio and his popularity on streaming services like Spotify.
His deep but hit-filled back catalog makes him the ideal candidate for the jukebox treatment, with the Broadway World preview of MJ suggesting that the musical will feature over 25 Jackson hits. Going to see a Broadway show is one of the most popular tourist activities in New York, and the name of Jackson is likely to prove a big draw for residents and visitors alike. While little is currently known about the plot and the song selection, just two letters will be enough to get the crowds flocking to see MJ.