Sneak Peek: What to Expect from MJ The Musical

MJ The Musical is a Broadway show that gives audiences an unprecedented look into the life and career of one of the most influential artists in music history, Michael Jackson. The show brings to life the King of Pop’s journey, starting from his early days as part of the Jackson 5 to his meteoric rise as a solo artist and the global fame that followed. Through the medium of theatre, MJ The Musical offers a fresh perspective on the pop culture phenomenon, providing a lens through which we can better understand his life, artistry, and legacy.

The Story Behind MJ The Musical: An Insightful Journey

The plot of MJ the Musical navigates through different stages of his life, revealing the man behind the music. The story begins with young Michael’s early days in Gary, Indiana, and charts his journey to stardom with the Jackson 5. It delves into the hurdles he had to overcome, both personally and professionally, to become the influential solo artist we all know.

The narrative explores the different phases of Michael Jackson’s career, from the disco-infused days of “Off the Wall” to the pop domination of “Thriller” to the introspective, mature sound of his later works. The musical doesn’t shy away from his personal struggles either – it touches on the trials and tribulations Jackson faced offstage, providing a balanced portrayal of his life.

The Music of MJ The Musical: The Iconic Hits

The music of MJ The Musical is, without a doubt, one of its key attractions. The score is full of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits, allowing audiences to experience his music in a whole new light. 

The musical includes tracks from the Jackson 5 era, like “I Want You Back” and “ABC,” which helped catapult the group to fame. Numerous songs from Jackson’s solo career are also included. Tracks like “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Thriller” become a part of the plot as well. These songs, performed with electrifying choreography reminiscent of Jackson’s signature style, bring an added layer of excitement and nostalgia to the production.

The Cast and Characters: Bringing the Legend to Life

The cast of MJ The Musical brings to life the various personalities that played significant roles in Michael Jackson’s life and career. Leading the cast is Elijah Rhea Johnson, who takes on the monumental task of playing Michael Jackson. Johnson, a talented singer and dancer, channels the spirit of Jackson with his nuanced performance, capturing both the artistry and humanity of the King of Pop. His portrayal of Jackson goes beyond imitation, offering an interpretation that is respectful, sensitive, and insightful.

Apollo Levine portrays Joseph Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family. Levine’s performance examines the complicated relationship between Joseph and Michael, shedding light on the impact of their family dynamic on Jackson’s career and personal life. The cast also includes Tavon Olds-Sample as a younger Michael Jackson, delivering a performance that captures the innocence and talent of Jackson’s earlier years. Other notable cast members include Ayana George as Katherine Jackson, and Whitney Bashor as Rachel, each bringing a unique perspective to the narrative.

Choreography: Dance as a Narrative Tool

Dance plays a crucial role in MJ The Musical, as it was an integral part of Michael Jackson’s artistry. Jackson’s signature dance moves, from the moonwalk to his gravity-defying lean, became as iconic as his music. The choreography in the show is a blend of different styles, mirroring Jackson’s own eclectic approach to dance. It draws from street dance, modern dance, and Broadway-style choreography, reflecting the variety that made Jackson’s dance routines so powerful and distinctive. 

Christopher Wheeldon, the musical’s director and choreographer, captured the energy, precision, and creativity that were hallmarks of Jackson’s dance. The choreography does more than just replicate Jackson’s iconic moves. It uses dance to express Jackson’s emotions, struggles, and victories. Whether it’s an energetic group number set to a Jackson 5 hit or a poignant solo performance to one of Jackson’s introspective tracks, the choreography helps to tell Jackson’s story in a visually stunning way.

Design and Costumes: Setting the Stage

The stage design and costumes in MJ The Musical transport audiences to different stages of Michael Jackson’s life and career. Derek McLane’s stage design is a dynamic blend of traditional theatre elements and multimedia projections. It captures the essence of different periods in Jackson’s life, from his modest home in Gary, Indiana, to the grand stages where he performed as a superstar. 

The costumes, designed by Paul Tazewell, are another element that adds authenticity to the show. The costumes range from the colorful matching outfits of the Jackson 5 to the iconic, sequined military-style jacket and fedora that Jackson wore during his solo career. Makeup plays a pivotal role as well, particularly in portraying Michael Jackson. The makeup design is sensitive to the changes in Jackson’s appearance over the years, aiding in the transition from young Michael to the globally recognized icon.

Audience Experience: Embarking on an Emotional Journey

MJ The Musical is a blend of concert and theatre, offering an experience that caters to both music and theatre lovers. Audience reviews of the show have been largely positive. Many have praised the performances, particularly that of Elihah Rhea Johnson and Tavon Olds-Sample as versions of Michael Jackson. The musical numbers are a highlight for many, with audiences appreciating the live renditions of Jackson’s hits and the iconic choreography. 

For first-time Broadway goers embarking on the experience of MJ The Musical, there are a few key tips to keep in mind to ensure a great experience. First, plan your trip in advance. Broadway shows, especially ones as popular as MJ The Musical, often sell out quickly, so make sure to purchase your tickets ahead of time. Next, be sure to arrive on time. The show starts at the scheduled time, and latecomers may not be admitted until a break in the performance. Dress comfortably but respectfully; a night at the theatre is a special occasion, but you’ll also want to be comfortable during the show. Additionally, remember to turn off or silence your phone before the performance begins – you don’t want to be the person whose phone interrupts a pivotal moment in the show. 

So, if you’ve ever found yourself tapping your foot to a Michael Jackson hit, marveled at his dance moves, or been intrigued by his life story, this show is for you. MJ The Musical is a show that deserves to be seen, felt and remembered.