Tony Award nominee Ephraim Sykes will moonwalk on Broadway, playing Michael Jackson in “MJ The Musical.” The show, which its the Great White Way after a rocky gestation.
It begins previews on July 6, 2020, at the Neil Simon Theatre with an official opening set for Aug. 13.
Sykes is currently appearing in another pop music celebration, “Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of The Temptations.” He earned a Tony nomination for his turn in the show as David Ruffin and a Grammy nomination for the cast recording of the show. Sykes also appeared on NBC’s “Hairspray Live!.” On Broadway, his credits include “Hamilton,” “Newsies,” and “Memphis.”
The show is intended to highlight’s the King of Pop’s life and career, boasting a selection of his chart-topping hits such as “Thriller,” ““Billie Jean,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “The Way You Make Me Feel.” However, his legacy has been tarnished by multiple allegations of child sexual abuse, controversies that were reignited last winter with the release of the HBO documentary “Leaving Neverland.” That film included extensive interviews with Wade Robson and James Safechuck, both of who claim that singer abused them when they were young boys.
Jackson, who died in 2009 at the age of 50, denied the allegations. However, after “Leaving Neverland” was released, the musical’s producers canceled a Chicago tryout. The show has also undergone a title change. It was originally supposed to be called “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” a reference to one of Jackson’s more famous songs.
“MJ The Musical” will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (“Ruined”). Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon (“An American in Paris”) will direct and choreograph the show. The show is produced by Lia Vollack and the Michael Jackson Estate.