“MJ” Takes Broadway


Outside of the Neil- Simon Theatre

Madeline Mehall, Life & Arts Editor

When my mom planned our last-minute trip to New York, she said the one thing we have to do is see “MJ,” the Broadway show about Michael Jackson. 

I didn’t really know what to expect, and the last time I saw a Broadway show I was 10 and fell asleep during the show. 

We had tickets for the show on Saturday night, and we got to New York on Thursday. Leading up to the show, we talked with people we met at restaurants and stores. When they would ask if we were seeing a Broadway show and we told them we were seeing “MJ,” they immediately responded with “You will LOVE it.” So, hearing their reviews definitely excited me. 

We went to a fun dinner before on 52nd street then walked down to the Neil-Simon Theatre for the show. The Neil- Simon theatre has been open since 1927 and is beautiful inside. 

The show opened with a scene of Jackson’s backup dancers rehearsing for the upcoming “Dangerous” tour and Jackson entering in an outfit that screams Michael Jackson; they performed the opening number “Beat it.” MJ shares his comments on the choreography and then two MTV producers walk into his rehearsal to do an in-depth story on Jackson who hasn’t been interviewed in 14 years. This forces Jackson to look at his past and what has gotten him to where he is at that point. 

In the show, you see Jackson, his brothers, and their band: Jackson 5. MJ was the one that recording studios noticed and wanted to sign. Jackson’s father advises him to not sign because he needs to stay with his brothers so that they can all benefit from his talent. 

You start to slowly see Jackson’s struggle with painkillers. On January 27, 1984, Jackson was filming an ad for Pepsi Co. when the pyrotechnics went off too early and burned his head, which led to him taking painkillers, introducing his slow addiction and reliance on painkillers. Toward the end of the show, you start to see people show concern for Jackson.

The show ends with MJ entering his first “Dangerous” concert. 

The costumes in the show are really well done and fitting for that time. The sets are unique and you really feel like you are taken to his concerts, his childhood home, the streets of New York, and his rehearsal studio. 

The show has 27 musical pieces that are really well done and highlights each of the characters’ singing talents.

The show was originally set to premiere in mid-2020, with Christopher Wheeldon directing and choreographing. But due to the pandemic, the show was postponed. The role of Micheal is played by Myles Frost, who has won multiple awards for his performance in this show, and the whole cast has been nominated for the Grammy best musical award. So far, the musical has grossed $69.9 million dollars and has had an attendance of 478,000. 

Eloise Senter ‘24 also saw the show when she was in New York this summer “I love the show and I also love the story it told ”