The Michael Jackson Musical: 'MJ'

ScreenOrigami;4291718 said:
The irony of people on an MJ board claiming that there’s nothing racist about a blackface performance when it’s supposed to be a joke.

If it's re:
ozemouze;4291615 said:
Plus I agree with Hess that there was no racist motivations behind it most probably, which should be also an important factor.

I just think it was a neutral/innocent idea to impersonate someone who happened to be Chris Rock for some reason (maybe he impersonated more celebs and Rock was among them), that's why it's without racist intent and not because it was a joke. How in 2000 SNL thought that blackface is a good idea, or how it went unnoticed at the time is a different question.
ozemouze;4291748 said:
I just think it was a neutral/innocent idea to impersonate someone who happened to be Chris Rock for some reason (maybe he impersonated more celebs and Rock was among them), that's why it's without racist intent and not because it was a joke. How in 2000 SNL thought that blackface is a good idea, or how it went unnoticed at the time is a different question.

I wasn’t directly referring to your comment, it was more of a general remark. ;)

In 2000, not everyone was on the internet like we are today. I’d guess that many people were upset, but back then they just didn’t have a public voice. Minorities are underrepresented in the entertainment industry, that’s how these “innocent” jokes make it through the whole process including brainstorming, script writing, casting, costumes & make-up, and rehearsals without anyone ever thinking that it might perhaps not be the best idea. After all, it was not a spontaneous remark. This was planned and rehearsed.

That’s why I brought up Spike Lee’s film “Bamboozled” earlier in this thread. When it came out in 2000, it was largely dismissed as something that’s no longer relevant – while Jimmy Fallon happily plays a blackface sketch in the same year.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BlackLivesMatter</a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; MJ (@MJtheMusical) <a href="">May 31, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
I really wish they wouldn't call it African American but from an African descent or just black. either way thanks for their out put.
Broadway Production Company Behind Michael Jackson Musical &#8216;MJ&#8217; Hires Producer Travis LeMont Ballenger

EXCLUSIVE: The Broadway production company behind the upcoming Michael Jackson musical MJ and the stage adaptation of the hit 2000 film Almost Famous has hired The Old Globe Theater&#8217;s Travis LeMont Ballenger as producer to help oversee both high-profile projects.

Ballenger, most recently the Associate Artistic Director at the Globe in San Diego, also will work on the development of new shows in his job at Lia Vollack Productions. He brings the company substantial theater experience, particularly with regard to works by Black artists including Lynn Nottage, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning playwright penning the book for MJ.

&#8220;Throughout his career, Travis has already distinguished himself as a true creative force,&#8221; Lia Vollack said. &#8220;He is a passionate theater maker and an outspoken advocate for artists. I am so thrilled that Travis is joining me and I know my company, our shows, and Broadway will be so much richer for having his voice in the room.&#8221;

&#8220;As you can imagine, accepting this position was not a hard decision,&#8221; Ballenger said in a statement. &#8220;Lia is a forward-thinking, deeply decent human being, with a clear vision for what theater can be. She is passionate about bringing new audiences and artists to Broadway and beyond. Therefore, she has her hands on some of the most exciting material around.&#8221;

MJ, a co-production with the Michael Jackson Estate that features music from singer&#8217;s catalogue and Nottage&#8217;s book, is scheduled to begin preview performances at Broadway&#8217;s Neil Simon Theatre on March 8, 2021, with opening night on April 15. Prior to Broadway&#8217;s COVID shutdown, the show had been set to begin previews last month.

Production details for the Almost Famous musical have not been announced. The film&#8217;s writer-director Cameron Crowe announced the stage adaptation in 2018, with himself set to write the musical&#8217;s book.

Both projects have been among Broadway&#8217;s most attention-getting upcoming shows, generating considerable anticipation and curiosity. MJ and Almost Famous were the first productions announced by Vollack when she launched her company last November after more than 20 years with Sony Pictures Entertainment, including a three-year run as President of the studio&#8217;s theater division Columbia Live Stage.

As an Associate Producer for Market Road Films, co-founded by Nottage, Ballenger field-produced 2017&#8217;s This is Reading, a performance installation in Reading, Pennsylvania inspired by Nottage&#8217;s research for her Pulitzer-winning 2015 play Sweat.

During a previous stint at Washington D.C.&#8217;s Arena Stage, Ballenger line-produced, among other shows, the pre-Broadway run of Lydia R. Diamond&#8217;s Stick Fly, which opened in New York in 2011 with a cast that included Dulé Hill, Tracie Thoms, Mekhi Phifer and Condola Rashad. Ballenger has also worked as a producer with Katori Hall, Sarah Treem, Pearl Cleage, Lydia R. Diamond, and Radha Blank.

After Arena, Ballenger became the Associate Producer for the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, producing both Washington D.C. and New York festivals, as well as a co-production with the Classical Theater of Harlem. He has also served as Associate Producer and Casting Director at Dallas Theater Center and Associate Producer of The Drama League of New York, producing both in New York and internationally.

Most recently, Ballenger was Associate Artistic Director at The Old Globe Theater in San Diego. An artist and poet, his poetry has been published in The Journal of African American Literature and Glasschord Magazine.
Looks like this might be deferred again to 31 May 2021 (at the earliest), along with the rest of Broadway.

Broadway Shutdown Extended Through May 2021 Due to COVID-19

The coronavirus-induced shutdown of Broadway theaters will now officially extend for more than a year. The Broadway League, the consortium of producers and theater owners that govern the industry, has announced plans to extend the theater closure from January 3, 2021, when theaters were previously set to reopen, through May 30, 2021. The industry first closed on March 12 of this year, and the Broadway League had set a rolling series of possible reopening dates &#8212; first in April, then in June, then Labor Day, and finally after the end of the year.

This hedging on the producers&#8217; part is partially a cash-flow issue, as theaters will now have to offer refunds and exchanges for canceled performances for the additional months of closure. The choice to set a date in May now seems closer to a realistic assessment of when live performances might be able to return, depending on the variables of vaccine approval and distribution, given that staging theater on the scale Broadway is known for generally isn&#8217;t financially feasible if audience sizes are capped for the sake of social distancing.

.............some producers have already announced dates for new Broadway productions that were to begin before next May. Those include Hugh Jackman&#8217;s Music Man (which moved from fall 2020 to start performances on April 7, 2021) and the Michael Jackson musical MJ (which moved from July 2020 to start performances on March 8, 2021). Productions of Flying Over Sunset, The Minutes, American Buffalo, Caroline, or Change, 1776, and others had also announced plans for next spring, which will likely have to be moved back or scuttled.
From 'MJ The Musical' on Twitter:

Due to the ongoing suspension of Broadway performances due to COVID-19, #MJtheMusical will now arrive on Broadway in September 2021.

For those holding tickets for performances through this date, information regarding refunds and exchange options will be initiated through your point of purchase.
MJ, the Michael Jackson bio-musical produced by Lia Vollack and the namesake artist's estate, now intends to begin performances in September 2021 at the Neil Simon Theatre following the October 9 announcement that Broadway will remain dark through at least May 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.


The show, penned by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed and choreographed by Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon, was scheduled to start previews July 6 at the venue this summer and open August 13. Performances were initially delayed until March 2021.

The announcement arrives on the heels of another title pushing back its opening: the Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster-led revival of The Music Man.

The project, previously titled Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, was initially slated to make its world premiere at Chicago's Nederlander Theatre last fall before scrapping those plans for a direct-to-Broadway route.

Ephraim Sykes, a Tony nominee for Ain't Too Proud&#8212;The Life and Times of The Temptations, is scheduled to play Jackson.

Those who have purchased a ticket to MJ for any performance that has been delayed by the ongoing Broadway shutdown will be refunded by the point of purchase. Anyone who previously purchased tickets to MJ will be notified via email about pre-sale priority access to purchase tickets for the new dates.

MJ will also feature set design by Tony winner Derek McLane, lighting design by Tony winner Natasha Katz, costumes by Tony winner Paul Tazwell, sound design by Tony nominee Gareth Owen, projection design by Tony nominee Peter Nigrini, and hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe. Jason Michael Webb will serve as music director with musical supervision by David Holcenberg and orchestrations by Holcenberg and Webb. Casting is by Rachel Hoffman of Telsey + Company.
Until this virus goes away alot of shows probably gonna have to be stream online etc and just have people to pay. this is our lives until something is made for it.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Lynn Nottage discusses MJ the musical Check out this article on <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BroadwayDirect</a>: <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Melanie321 (@Mellie4Justice) <a href="">October 20, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MJtheMusical</a> is coming to Broadway, but you don’t have to wait to show everyone you’re already part of the MJ community. Enter to win exclusive, early release merch. Then, share the sweeps with your friends and family to up your odds. <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; MJ (@MJtheMusical) <a href="">May 3, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
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Broadway’s Back Pt. 3: Pandemic Delay May Have Been Best Thing After All for “MJ: Michael Jackson Musical”

by Roger Friedman - <time itemprop="dateCreated" class="entry-date updated" datetime="2021-05-06T16:37:07+00:00">May 6, 2021 4:37 pm

Broadway’s Back Pt. 3: Pandemic Delay May Have Been Best Thing After All for “MJ: Michael Jackson Musical” | Showbiz411</time>


“MJ: The Michael Jackson Musical” was supposed to open in the summer of 2020. When Broadway shut down in March 2020, “MJ” was not selling well. There were a lot of questions about the sustainability of the show after a critical and panned documentary about Jackson aired on HBO. A lot of clouds hung over Michael Jackson’s legacy.

And then came the pandemic. Now “MJ” will open this winter, a year and a half later. Ironically, the pandemic might have been the best thing that ever happened.
The documentary, “Leaving Neverland,” came and went in March 2019. The ratings weren’t great. And many lawsuits emerged. The documentary was widely discredited by fans. And the principals saw their cases against Jackson’s estate dismissed from court.
A lawsuit brought by the Jackson estate against HBO will go to court ordered arbitration. The arbitrator will certainly know about the dismissals of Wade Robson’s and Jimmy Safechuck’s cases.

This week, a court ruled for the Estate in a major tax case. The government said the Estate owed $700 million based on much was earned after Jackson died in 2009. They said he was worth that much at his death. The Estate argued Michael’s image and career were worth about $7 million in June 2009. The IRS said the number was over $1 billion. A final ruling was the amount of $4 million.
Time has been kind to the producers of “MJ.” They probably should have waited a couple of years anyway. But now “MJ” can open without a cloud over it. The musical will encompass Michael’s early life, childhood, the Jackson 5 and his life through “Thriller.” The musical will end with everyone singing “Billie Jean” and dancing out of the theater.

Sanitized? Yes. Who cares? Naysayers can beat it.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Wanna be startin' somethin'... <a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MJtheMusical</a><br>Wanna be the first to hear next week’s big news? Make sure you’re on our email list! Sign up now: <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; MJ (@MJtheMusical) <a href="">May 6, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href=";ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MJTheMusical</a> previews begin December 6th! Michael's legacy lives!! <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; andjustice4some (@andjustice4some) <a href="">May 11, 2021</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Ephraim Sykes, Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and his excitement for #MJTheMusical to begin.
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Don’t Stop til You Get Enough: Michael Jackson Musical “MJ” Will Get 7 Preview Weeks, Open February 1, 2022

by Roger Friedman - <time itemprop="dateCreated" class="entry-date updated" datetime="2021-05-11T09:31:50+00:00">May 11, 2021 9:31 am</time>

The Michael Jackson musical is here.
“MJ” will get seven weeks of previews beginning December 20th and open February 1, 2022. This will be a show dependent on suspension of disbelief and a willingness to dance in the aisles.
There have been worse ideas.

The Michael Jackson musical will go from his childhood through the success of “Thriller,” and there before things get too weird. Maybe they’ll throw in some songs from “Bad,” too.

Running concurrently with the Temptations musical, “Ain’t Too Proud,” we’ll be getting real dose of Motown and a third show in which Berry Gordy is a character. That may be a record.

Look for a lot of Moonwalking, beaded silver gloves for sale in the lobby, and everyone singing “Billie Jean” together, standing in the theater. It should be a lot of fun.
Don’t stop til you get enough!

PS You know, this would after the story of the musical, but Michael did make his kids wear masks all those years.
He was prescient! (having or showing knowledge of events before they take place.)

Don’t Stop til You Get Enough: Michael Jackson Musical “MJ” Will Get 7 Preview Weeks, Open February 1, 2022 | Showbiz411

What exactly is the story being told here?

I saw some guy on Twitter say he saw a run through and it ends with confronting him about the start of the allegations...
Now obviously you don't believe everything you see on Twitter but, I can't imagine that The Estate would be stupid enough to sign off on that...
I also don't think the writers would be stupid enough to end a Broadway show like that...
Michael Jackson Musical ‘MJ’ Hits Broadway In December; Ephraim Sykes In Title Role

Michael Jackson Musical ‘MJ’ Hits Broadway In December – Deadline

<article class="pmc-a-grid-item pmc-a-span2@desktop u-max-width-100p" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); font-size: medium; box-sizing: border-box; flex: 0 0 66.6667%; padding: 0px; grid-column: span 2 / auto; max-width: 100%;">MJ, the new musical inspired by the life of Michael Jackson, will begin performances on Broadway December 6, with an opening night set for Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at the Neil Simon Theatre, producers announced today.

As previously announced, MJ, which will star Tony Award nominee Ephraim Sykes, features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and a score made up of Jackson’s hits. Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph.
Producers Lia Vollack Productions and The Michael Jackson Estate made the announcement this morning.

The creative team will feature Scenic Design by Tony and two-time Emmy Award winner Derek McLane, Lighting Design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, Costume Design by Tony and Emmy Award winner Paul Tazewell, Sound Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Gareth Owen, Projection Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Peter Nigrini, and Hair & Wig Design by two-time Emmy Award nominee Charles LaPointe.
The creative team will also feature Musical Supervision by David Holcenberg, Orchestrations and Arrangements by David Holcenberg and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb, and Music Direction by Jason Michael Webb.

Anyone who previously purchased tickets to MJ at will be notified via email about pre-sale priority access to purchase tickets for the new dates. Tickets will be on sale for the general public beginning Tuesday, May 18 at 10 am ET.

MJ originally had been set to begin Broadway previews on July 6, 2020, with an opening night of August 13, then initially postponed to March 2021 due to the pandemic shutdown.

The musical, which is not expected to focus on Jackson’s personal life or controversies, depicts the Thriller star and his collaborators as they rehearse for the 1992 Dangerous Tour.


Click on the Link below

iHeartRadio Subscription is Not Required
Flexible Exchanges and Refunds are available.

MJ is the electrifying new Broadway musical that takes audiences inside the creative process of one of the greatest entertainers in history. Featuring over 25 of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, MJ allows us to rediscover the man in the mirror – with an explosion of music and theatricality as unforgettable as the artist himself. Book by Lynn Nottage. Directed & Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon.

Broadway performances of MJ will begin December 6, 2021. Access presale tickets here beginning May 17 at 10AM, through our sponsors at iHeartRadio. You do not need to be an iHeartRadio subscriber to access this presale. Tickets go on sale to the general public May 18.

I wish they would go into his personal life in this show. Although maybe that wouldn’t make for a good Broadway story; it’s all about the spectacle in the end isn’t it?

Sucks that there might not be any HIStory or Invincible songs, those eras are ignored all too often. I hope one day I’ll be able to see this if I go to the USA.
After everything that went on, especially with this pandemic, I'm looking forward to see this new musical, hopefully sometime next year
MOR316;4322200 said:
What exactly is the story being told here?

I saw some guy on Twitter say he saw a run through and it ends with confronting him about the start of the allegations...
Now obviously you don't believe everything you see on Twitter but, I can't imagine that The Estate would be stupid enough to sign off on that...
I also don't think the writers would be stupid enough to end a Broadway show like that...

I don’t believe that for a moment.
No one does a 360 degree spin like Michael Jackson; but let's hope the dancers in MJ the musical at least attempt some facsimile. :tonguev4:

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“MJ The Musical” is due to open its doors in December, but when it does, a new actor will be moonwalking into the role of the King of Pop!

With the pandemic, schedules and jobs have been moving around and the original “Michael”, Ephraim Sykes, is no longer able to make the show.

In a statement he said:

“It’s with a heavy heart that I depart ‘MJ,’ this year has brought a lot of change and opportunity, and although it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to an iconic role and production, I look forward to what is to come. Thank you to the ‘MJ’ team and congratulations to Myles. I can’t wait to see you shine as the King of Pop and for us all to celebrate the return of Broadway.”

Myles Frost will take his place and make his Broadway debut in the production. Myles is known for his role in the TV series “Family Reunion” (2019-2020) and in the movie “All In” (2019).

“We are extremely excited about Myles,” said the musical’s director and choreographer, Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon. “All of his talents point towards a new rising star. I’m very much looking forward to working with him to shape the role of Michael Jackson for MJ.”

A new leading man is stepping into the spotlight—Myles Frost will debut as Michael Jackson when #MJtheMusical comes to Broadway this December.; MJ (@MJtheMusical) June 29, 2021

In his Broadway debut, Myles Frost will take on the iconic role of Michael Jackson with #MJtheMusical this December.; MJ (@MJtheMusical) June 29, 2021

Meet newcomer Myles Frost, who will be stepping in for Ephraim Sykes as the King of Pop.; Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 29, 2021

I don't know if someone already posted. According to Roger Friedman...

[...] But without Sykes, there’s no draw from the show. It’s just about Michael Jackson. And so far, ticket sales are grim. They’re not moving. At all. A look through Ticketmaster reveals seas of blue dots, meaning unsold seats, every night from the beginning of previews in December through opening night in February.[...]

Hope this show will debut on stage as Michael Jackson deserves. I would have considered the hypothesis of a show in Europe instead in US.