Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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MJ The Musical is a Thriller of a Show

 

 

Roman Banks as ‘MJ’ and the cast of the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

–by Ashley Cox

 

The finale of the Fox’s 2023-2024 Broadway season is capped with the opening of MJ the Musical. Absolutely perfect timing as the laptop I use to write reviews has died and I am diligently typing this on my phone. My arthritic thumbs and small keyboard will not be able to give justice to this show. I truly thought that nothing could top “Moulin Rouge” but the performers were the highest caliber of the entire season.

Josiah Benson as ‘Little Michael’ and Anastasia Talley as ‘Katherine Jackson’ in the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

MJ alternate, Jamaal Fields-Green, filled in for Roman Banks. If Fields-Green was the alternate, I cannot even comprehend how Banks would have performed. Fields-Green had the audience forgetting that they were not in the presence of Dangerous era Jackson but instead an actor. His vocals, dance ability, and tone were spot on.

Brandon Lee Harris as ‘Michael’ and the cast of the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

Brandon Lee Harris as Thriller era Jackson was a show stealer every time he took the stage. Devin Bowles playing dual roles as tour manager Rob and the infamous Joe Jackson held the most impressive and hardest role of the night. A subtle shift in body posture would shift him between a caring, concerned friend into the abusive, money driven patriarch.

Devin Bowles as ‘Rob’ and Roman Banks as ‘MJ’ in the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

The musical makes use of Jackson’s extensive catalog including his time with The Jacksons and Jackson Five. Personal favorites included “They Don’t Care About Us” and both performances of “Thriller.”

Jaylen Lyndon Hunter as Little Marlon Ethan Joseph as Little Michael and the cast of the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

The show opened on Tuesday and runs through June 9. I highly recommend going to catch the extremely gifted cast and a thoughtful encapsulation of a controversial yet damaged man.

Roman Banks as ‘MJ’ and the cast of the MJ First National Tour. Photo by Matthew Murphy, MurphyMade

The 2024-2025 Broadway season will open on September 24th with “Back to the Future: the musical”. A special run of Hamilton precedes that running from August 28th – September 8th.Tickets for these shows and “MJ The Musical” can be purchased at the Fabulous Fox Box Office or online HERE.

 

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