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MJ The Musical: Unleashing Musical Magic In Los Angeles

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MJ the Musical at Hollywood Pantages Theatre for a limited six-week till  January 28, 2024

Reviewed by Joy Parris: MJ the Musical received numerous standing ovations on its opening night at the Hollywood Pantages Theater. Kudos to the entire production team for physically and spiritually bringing Michael Jackson to life. If you’re ready to be captivated and transported in your Body, Mind, and Spirit, then this is the musical you want to see.

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

From the moment the curtain rises, the musical ensnares you with its spectacular set design, dazzling lighting, and brilliant choreography, executed to perfection. Narrated through flashbacks and shaped by the skillful writing of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, MJ the Musical revolves around the creation of the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, just before the sexual abuse cases made headlines.

The production delves into Michael’s creative mind and unwavering determination to produce exceptional work, even at the expense of his health. It explores pivotal moments such as his accident while filming a Pepsi commercial, possibly triggering his struggle with drug addiction. The musical also sheds light on his tumultuous relationship with his abusive father and the influential figures in the industry, including Fred Astaire, Bob Fosse, the Nicholas Brothers, Berry Gordy, and Quincy Jones, who allowed Michael to explore his full creative potential.

MJ the Musical offers the audience a glimpse into Michael’s emotions during the production of the tour. Michael desired unique special effects that involved unprecedented technical requirements, adding pressure to meet tight deadlines. As the pressure intensifies, the audience is taken on an intimate, spiritual journey with over 25 of his biggest hits seamlessly woven into this dazzling, emotional, and ecstatic experience to transform Dangerous into an unforgettable, life-changing event.

The set design is a masterpiece, capturing the spirit of various stages in Michael’s career. Intricate details are meticulously recreated, providing a dynamic backdrop that evolves seamlessly with the narrative. The set changes effortlessly, taking the audience on a journey through time and space, from the early days of Michael’s career to the pinnacle of his success during the Dangerous World Tour. Each set is a work of art, contributing to the storytelling and complementing the choreography and music.

The choreography not only pays homage to Michael’s well-known routines but also introduces innovative and creative dance elements that capture the essence of his groundbreaking contributions to the world of dance. MJ(Roman Banks), skillfully emulates Michael’s movements, creating a sense of authenticity and reverence for the King of Pop’s legacy.

MJ the Musical Offical Production Trailer

The lighting design is pivotal in creating the electrifying atmosphere that defines MJ the Musical. It skillfully amplifies the emotions of each scene, using a vibrant palette to evoke the energy of Michael’s performances. The interplay of lights with the choreography adds depth and dimension to the stage, accentuating the dancers’ movements and highlighting key moments in the narrative. The ldesign is dynamic, adapting to the changing moods of the musical, from the exhilarating highs of concert performances to the more introspective moments delving into Michael’s personal life.

Promotional image for the 1992 tour via Wikipedia

As the musical explores the behind-the-scenes journey of the Dangerous World Tour, the choreography becomes a powerful storytelling tool, reflecting the emotional highs and lows of Michael’s life and career. It transforms each dance number into a poignant expression of his passion, struggles, and triumphs.  It’s not merely a series of dance numbers but a dynamic and integral part of the production that elevates the entire theatrical experience. It is a fitting tribute to Michael Jackson’s enduring impact on the world of dance and entertainment. To preserve the authenticity of Michael’s vision, the text on the Act II curtain is replicated directly from his original notes.

Company of ‘MJ The Musical’ Curtain Call
Roman Banks

The stellar cast, led by Roman Banks, who embodies MJ on multiple levels, is truly remarkable. From the timbre of his voice to his dance movements, Banks allows the audience to feel the soul of this beloved icon. Every performer portraying MJ at different stages of his life delivers outstanding performances. It resonates on multiple levels, but what stood out for me was the creative spirit of collaboration that made Michael Jackson the Most Beloved Entertainer and influential artist of all time.

Ticket prices start at $39. Additional ticket information at www.BroadwayInHollywood.com.

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