With an HBO documentary that places strong allegations of abuse against Michael Jackson premiering in two weeks, the late singer’s estate announced Thursday that it’s canceling a scheduled Chicago test run of a jukebox musical about him.
The estate and its producing partner in the musical, Columbia Live Stage, said that they’re setting their sights on going straight to Broadway in the summer of 2020, according to the New York Times.
However, the producers said the change in plans was due not to the documentary, but instead to “scheduling difficulties” related to a labor dispute. A recently resolved strike by Actors’ Equity delayed development plans for the show and the producers decided to wait. The said they plan another workshop in New York in the fall.
The musical, called “Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough,” features a book by Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage is directed and choreographed by Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon. The show’s publicists have said that the musical will focus on Jackson’s life and career up to 1992 — not coincidentally, his addiction to painkillers and allegations of abuse began to surface shortly after that time.
While the documentary has been fiercely criticized by the estate, Variety’s review called the testimony of two of his alleged victims “overwhelmingly powerful and convincing. … the two don’t just describe the sexual activities that Jackson subjected them to… They describe, in abundantly articulate and deeply emotional detail, how the abuse took place within the context of what appeared (to them) to be a relationship of hypnotic warmth and trust.”