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MJ the Musical Broadway Reviews

MJ THE MUSICAL Broadway Reviews

CRITICS RATING:
6.81
READERS RATING:
6.81
Rate MJ the Musical

MJ is the new Broadway musical that takes audiences inside the creative process of one of the greatest entertainers in history. Featuring over 25 of Michael Jackson's biggest hits, MJ allows us to rediscover the man in the mirror - with an explosion of music, choreography and theatricality as unforgettable as the artist himself.

Critics' Reviews

9

‘MJ’: Theater Review

From: Hollywood Reporter | By: Lovia Gayarkye | Date: 02/01/2022

MJ, like its subject, is captivating and hard to shake. The musical takes audiences through Jackson's life and catalog with impressive ease, expertly chronicling major milestones. After breaking up with Motown records, Michael goes to Epic, where he works with Quincy Jones to produce Off the Wall and Thriller. His vision and work ethic become more exacting, his drive to best himself at once breathtaking and worrisome. As the narrative burrows deeper into Michael's mind, the toll his artistry took on him is clear. He wanted to bring his audiences joyful and spectacular experiences, but he felt isolated and misunderstood.

If MJ can't contain the shock of the new that turned his 1983 television performance into an era-defining moment, it is in no short supply of its own thrills, not least the reminder, after all these years of scandal and accusations, that we once observed, in real time, the blossoming of undeniable talent into unavoidable genius. That's a transition, not since equaled, that director-choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, book write Lynn Nottage and an impeccable cast led by the star-is-born Myles Frost, bring to pulse-quickening life on the stage.

9

That sordid history would not seem to have foretold a jukebox musical devoted to the upside of Jackson's genius - and certainly not by artists of the caliber of two-time Pulitzer winner Nottage ("Ruined," "Sweat") and the celebrated ballet world fixture Wheeldon. The show's decidedly selective memory may be off-putting to theatergoers appalled by the stories of Jackson's alleged misdeeds. Nevertheless, the creative team's painstaking work has resulted in a riveting, adrenaline rush of a show, propelled by remarkable dancing and a mesmerizing central performance by Myles Frost as the sleek, soft-spoken pop megastar.

8

BROADWAY REVIEW: ‘MJ’ elevates the art of Michael Jackson as it dances away from controversy

From: New York Daily News | By: Chris Jones | Date: 02/01/2022

COVID means a lack of tourists, short-term. But the show has all kinds of artistic beauties to offer the artist's global fans. Thanks in no small part to the gorgeous palate created by Derek McLane, Natasha Katz, Paul Tazewell and Peter Nigrini, the show is genuinely beautiful to experience throughout, which one almost never can say about jukebox musicals. Aside from a few clanging scenes, it's a gorgeously executed celebration of a pained subject's artistry.

The demons that Jackson battles in "MJ," his father and the media, are figured as monstrous. But if there was darkness behind the angelic falsetto, a mix of light and shadow that made Michael Jackson a singular artist, "MJ" enacts a sleight of hand, insisting it didn't belong to him. It's a renouncement worthy enough of a smooth criminal.

7

‘MJ,’ the Michael Jackson Broadway Musical, Is High on Dazzle, Low on Depth

From: Daily Beast | By: Tim Teeman | Date: 02/01/2022

There is nothing surprising in the show, which opens tonight on Broadway. This is a slickly corporate, officially sanctioned slice of legacy clean-up. Two and a half hours of glittery hagiography. If you expect a musical that examines Jackson's life, controversies, and legacy, forget it. If you want to see anything which even mildly challenges the deification of Jackson, or interrogates his celebrity and actions with depth and nuance, this is not the show for you.

7

‘MJ’ Broadway Review: Michael Jackson Musical Is Less Thriller Than Dangerous

From: The Wrap | By: Robert Hofler | Date: 02/01/2022

"MJ" is a jukebox musical that is nothing but the late King of Pop's greatest hits. Would Jackson himself approve of such a sentimental journey? More to the point is that his estate has approved it. And that is only one of the minor offenses on display in "MJ," which opened Tuesday at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre.

7

MJ The Musical Review: Michael Jackson as Thriller, not Dangerous

From: New York Theater | By: Jonathan Mandell | Date: 02/01/2022

"With respect, I wanna keep this about my music," Michael Jackson (Myles Frost) says near the start of "MJ The Musical." And that's what this show, opening tonight on Broadway, certainly does: There are some three dozen songs presented in 135 minutes, with exciting choreography by director Christopher Wheeldon built on Jackson's signature moves, performed by an energetic ensemble and three different Michael Jackson impersonators - performing as the kid who started and starred in the Jackson 5; the teenager who broke out on his own with Off The Wall; and, most of the time, the King of Pop, who wowed the world with Thriller, Bad, Smooth Criminal and the moon walk

6

Review: In ‘MJ,’ No One’s Looking at the Man in the Mirror

From: New York Times | By: Jesse Green | Date: 02/01/2022

In this, "MJ" is trying to have it both ways. It wants to blame everything sad and weird about Jackson on others (especially the press, who are equated with the zombies in "Thriller") but credit him alone for his every good deed and success. Acknowledgment of the choreographers and songwriters he collaborated with is mostly saved for the program. This defensiveness, constantly asserting his genius as if it were in question, eventually becomes dulling, like any act of bad faith. And so as the show, anticipating its star's trajectory, disintegrates in the second half, the pleasure that compensated for its inherent ickiness can no longer do the job. "MJ" becomes a grind of obfuscation, a case of willfully not looking at the man in the mirror.

6

MJ

From: Time Out NY | By: Adam Feldman | Date: 02/01/2022

When the song is done, Michael speaks with an MTV reporter (Whitney Bashor) who has landed a rare interview with him. "With respect, I wanna keep this about my music," he says. "Is it really possible to separate your life from your music?" she asks, preempting a question on many minds, and his reply is a slice of "Tabloid Junkie": "Just because you read it in a magazine / Or see it on a TV screen, don't make it factual." And that, more or less, is that. Expertly directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, MJ does about as well as possible within its careful brief. In and of itself, it is a well-crafted jukebox nostalgia trip. Lynn Nottage's script weaves together three dozen songs, mostly from the Jackson catalog. The music and the dancing are sensational. And isn't that, the show suggests, really the point in the end? Doesn't that beat all?

6

MJ: THE MAN IN THE MIRE

From: New York Stage Review | By: Elysa Gardner | Date: 02/01/2022

Wisely, though, MJ neither defends its subject from the most serious charges against him nor urges us to distinguish between the artist and his art. Like most jukebox fare, it's at its most winning when song and dance are in progress-and since Jackson's hits always lent themselves to theatrical presentation, and theater and film giants were among his biggest influences, Wheeldon and his company have plenty of room to fly. In one sequence, the ballet-bred choreographer and director pays cool, glistening homage to Fred Astaire, Bob Fosse and the seminal duo the Nicholas Brothers, offering a bit of historical perspective on the restless brilliance captured in other routines.

6

MJ: MICHAEL JACKSON JUKEBOX MUSICAL IS VERY SMOOTH, SOMEWHAT CRIMINAL

From: New York Stage Review | By: Jesse Oxfeld | Date: 02/01/2022

Befitting this endemic duality, the biomusical MJ, which opened tonight at the Neil Simon, arrived in New York on simultaneous waves of both anticipation and apprehension. It has most of the ingredients of a jukebox hit-great songs, iconic dances, a rags-to-riches story-plus a prodigiously talented creative team. But it is also the story of a man with real problems, a man who quite likely committed some heinous crimes-and a man whose estate controls his life story and is involved with the production. The latter fact is probably unavoidable. But it's also deeply awkward. MJ is big and loud; it is joyful and joyous. The music grooves, the dancing glides, the crowd bops. The spectacle is everything you expect. You enjoy Jackson's work, you see his genius-but you never truly grapple with him as a character, because this hagiography cannot work if it asks you to. Michael Jackson is today a credibly accused child molester, and MJ succeeds only if you can ignore that fact.

6

MJ: THE MUSICAL Is A Monument To Misconduct — Review

From: Theatrely | By: Juan A. Ramirez | Date: 02/01/2022

So we're made to side with Jackson - frustrating, but understandable enough. What do we learn about him? We hear of his being demanding during rehearsals, that he's "going through a lot," that he had a tough life, but none of this is explored or even explained in any meaningful way. We've seen troubled backstories before, heard how exacting and uncompromising A-listers can be, so if MJ: The Musical is going to wash away the sins and focus on the person, at least bring something new to the table that matches the brilliance of his artistry.

6

Review | ‘MJ’ is a sanitized Michael Jackson tribute

From: amNY | By: Matt Windman | Date: 02/01/2022

Depending on one's inclination, "MJ" can be seen as a slick and lively tribute concert (with dancers, back-up singers, Jackson impersonators, and elaborate homage choreography), a by-the-numbers bio-jukebox musical (really not so different from all the others out there), or a defiant public relations effort to rebrand and refocus Jackson's image, reputation, and legacy.

It's not a smooth musical. The troubles over at "MJ: The Musical," the new show about Michael Jackson that opened Tuesday night on Broadway, are much bigger than the controversy surrounding its subject - although the two are closely connected. While the lifeless script is written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage of "Ruined," the pat dialogue feels as if it was co-authored by a lawyer for the Jackson estate - one of the producers - with Wite-Out and a Sharpie.

5

Review: Michael Jackson musical is some thriller, lots bad

From: Associated Press | By: Mark Kennedy | Date: 02/01/2022

Nottage and director and choreographer Christopher Wheeldon have one of the greatest music catalogues in the world and yet don't seem to know how to handle it. Some pivotal songs - like "For the Love of Money" by The O'Jays - aren't by Jackson at all. And a large bulk of Jackson's songs used - including "Earth Song," "Stranger in Moscow," "Price of Fame" and "They Don't Care About Us" - were released after 1992. You can't have it both ways. Even so, nothing should take away from a tireless, fully-committed Myles Frost, who plays Jackson with a high, whispery voice, a Lady Diana-like coquettishness and a fierce embrace of Jackson's iconic dancing and singing style, right down to the rhythmic breathing and swiveling head. He Moonwalks insanely well.


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Pro Readers Reviews

10

An amazing lifetime experience

By: | Date: 12/08/2021

I have been to lots of Broadway musicals around the world,and this time I was happened to be in the US because of my business trip,and knew this MJ Musical is premier there,didn’t expect so much and I can not call myself an MJ fan at all,i know some MJ hit songs. This is my review about that show. First: I have never experienced this much positive energy of the audience,I feel MJ is really loved by the audiences there, a man sitting beside me was crying during the show. Second: the casting is amazing,there are 3 MJs, each one of them really has MJ spirit in them, I can tell they really studied MJ and had brought out the best of MJ in the show. Third: there are some things which MJ struggled in his life which was well presented in the show,like the vitiligo and his complicated feelings towards his dad,to be honest ,I am a 60 year old white man who really always questioned MJ’s behavior till now,and after watching this musical, I , for the first time did some research about MJ’s wired behavior,like why he always had children around him,and I have to apologize to MJ today first time in my life, he was just a little kid in an adult body. Through the songs in this show which I never heard before, like “Money”, “They don’t care about us”…I have a clearer and better view of MJ now,he is a music genius, and I can also say this loud too: he is a great human being,I misunderstood him for years, this musical Is worthy attending. I hope others can give it a watch too.

10

Amazing and Brilliant

By: | Date: 12/09/2021

As a die hard fan I went expecting nothing but the best and yes they delivered . Everything was there , the energy, excitement, a story to tell. The beauty of the different scenes , costumes and songs to tell it all. It just so amazingly put together. The actors that play MJ are so incredible talented, the cast is amazing . Myles sounds just like MJ is just so incredible it gave me goosebumps. What a spectacular performance This was a brilliant Idea it gives the audience a glimpse at MJ childhood and part of his adult life. As well as part of what he had to endure and give up to become the King of Pop. Kudos MJ Musical for keeping this legend legacy alive.

10

A BROADWAY SPECTACULAR!

By: | Date: 12/30/2021

Soul Nyu 12:43 PM (0 minutes ago) to me I was so moved by this show! This is a Broadway show like nothing ever seen or experienced. This cast and crew have obviously worked so hard to bring this to life. Their blood, sweat and tears, their heart and soul is left on the floor when the show ends… and believe me you want more. Nothing can prepare you for the Magic you will experience watching MJ The Musical! Children, Teens, Young Adults, Older Adults - will love this! Doesn’t matter if you are a MICHAEL JACKSON fan or not, this is a spectacular Broadway production that you cannot miss! Re: Neil Simon Theatre The staff was INCREDIBLE! Health and safety checks throughout. We used the NYC Covid app to have our ID/Vaccine information on to show the inspectors (easy for international/out of state persons to download and use). Accessibility was not an issue, so do NOT be discouraged if you have issues with access; my mum broke her knee and we were quickly ushered to our seats so she didn’t have to wait in the line. The Neil Simon Theatre staff all around were Kind & Compassionate which also increased the overall experience! 100000/10 is my score but they limit me to only 10/10 bring tissues! grab a drink at the bar & take it to your seat! enjoy the greatest musical you ever will see in your life!

10

AMAZING!

By: | Date: 02/01/2022

I am a big Michael Jackson fan and this show was beyond my expectations! There will be spoilers in this review, so please don't read if you aren't into that. This show was otherwordly, it was extraordinary and it was just amazing! It really showcased Michael as a person and a creative MASTER! Although there are scenes involving Joe and Michael's trauma as a kid, as well as Thriller representing Joe as Michael's fear, (Thriller was DEEP and visually insane) as well another scene about demerol, this show still does a very good job representing Michael's life and rehearsal process. There are several flashback moments in which Myles Frost (playing MJ) tells the reporter character about moments in his career, from Jackson 5, Thriller era and the Victory Tour. There are also many family moments including Katherine singing "I'll Be There" to Michael, which shed me a tear. The show takes place during Dangerous Tour rehearsals in 1992, and the show mainly takes place in the rehearsal room, preparing for the tour, as well as struggles he may have during it, such as getting the toaster. The song selections were great and the choices tied into the scenes and most were sung in the right context. Price Of Fame, Money, Keep The Faith, Stranger In Moscow, 2Bad and Tabloid Junkie are sung, as well as his popular hits. The audience was very into the show, and danced in their seats during the songs. This indeed is a CELEBRATION! Myles Frost as well as all the other Michaels were AMAZING! Myles really studied him and his mannerisms, as well as his personality traits. The show also mentions his vitiligo as well during a scene when Michael talks to the reporter character. The script does need tweaking, as there are some timeline inaccuracies as well as other things, but overall it was SPECTACULAR! The choreography and singing was out of this world! I love how they did the dancing differently than the choreo we all know, It reminded me of what Michael was gonna do for One Night Only. I WOULD SEE IT AGAIN AND AGAIN!