BWW Interviews: MOTOWN THE MUSICAL's Leon Outlaw Jr.

Ever wonder what the young actors who play roles in Broadway tours think? Well, Mr. Leon Outlaw Jr. is here to tell you a little about himself in the way only a kid can -- straightforward and to the point. At the ripe old age of 12, theatre "vet" Outlaw plays Young Berry Gordy, Young Stevie Wonder and Young Michael Jackson in MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, playing Dec. 16 - 28 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. At a very young age, Leon began to sing and dance to the amazement of his parents. Inspired by Michael Jackson and James Brown, Leon made his stage debut at age 9.

Tell our readers about your role in MOTOWN THE MUSICAL and what it's like to play the younger versions of Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Berry Gordy.

It is truly an honor playing the roles of these icons. I'm only 12 years old and I get to play my idol Michael Jackson and two living legends. Whenever my act is over I wish there was more for me to do.

Is it more challenging to play an iconic legend? Do you feel more pressure to do them justice on stage?

Yes. Before every show I pray and I say, "Ok MJ, let's do this!" After the show when fans tell me, "You sound just like Michael Jackson. You made me cry; He would be proud of you." Then I feel very happy.

What's your favorite moment and/or song in the show?

I have two; Battle of the stars and when I come out for the Jackson 5 audition. Once the crowd starts to applaud I get pumped up.

What is something that fans who attend the show at Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre should watch for that is an "insider's secret" about the production?

There is a lot going on behind the scenes and a lot of jokes. When I do Lil Stevie Wonder my eyes are really closed under the glasses.

What do you like to tell people that is unique about MOTOWN THE MUSICAL?

What's unique about Motown is you will be dancing in your seats and you will learn something before you leave; like Marvin Gaye was Berry Gordy's brother in-law.

What's next for your career? And, what is your dream role that you hope to play in the future?

I'm not sure what God has in store for me but I would love to continue in theater, TV shows, movies and more. I would like to play Berry Gordy/Marvin Gaye.

More information

Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, MOTOWN THE MUSICAL is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy's journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.

Featuring more than 40 classic hits such as "My Girl" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," MOTOWN THE MUSICAL tells the story behind the hits as Diana, Smokey, Berry and the whole Motown family fight against the odds to create the soundtrack of change in America. Motown shattered barriers, shaped our lives and made us all move to the same beat.

Showtimes are Dec. 22-28: Monday at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. (no evening performance). There are no performances on Wednesday, Dec. 24 or Thursday, Dec. 25 due to the Christmas holiday. Tickets may be purchased in person (no service fees) at the State Theatre Box Office, online at, by calling 1.800.982.2787 or visiting a Ticketmaster Center.

For more information about MOTOWN THE MUSICAL, please visit

For more information about tickets to the Broadway on Hennepin Season, please visit

Discount offer (added here 12/19/14):

There are discounts on select shows - check out this website and use the code for special deals:


Photo of Leon Outlaw Jr. courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust.

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From This Author Kristen Hirsch Montag

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