Equity Issues Statement Regarding Cancellation of Michael Jackson Musical in Chicago
From Brandon Lorenz, Communications Director, Actors' Equity Association:
"It's incredibly disappointing that the actors and stage managers who are currently working to develop this project were not informed about a major production change before a public media announcement was made. The developmental lab that was scheduled for this production was delayed by 12 working days during the strike. It is difficult to understand how a modest delay in February would impact a run that was scheduled for late October."
The producer originally filed an audition notice last fall with a start date of Feb. 11, and Equity members started working on a show development contract for this production on Feb. 11.
As previously announced, the new musical Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough will now have its world premiere on Broadway when it opens in summer of next year. Its previously announced pre-Broadway engagement in Chicago has been cancelled.
Producers and the Michael Jackson estate cite the reason for cancellation as scheduling difficulties brought about by the recent Actors Equity strike, but according to The New York Times, the recent documentary "Leaving Neverland" may have influenced the decision. The documentary, which premiered at Sundance last month, examines molestation claims made against Jackson by two men who denied the allegations at trial but then sued the estate following Jackson's death.