Review: MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre

What did our critic think of MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre?

By: Feb. 02, 2024
Review: MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre

Fifteen years after MJ’s sudden death and his legacy continues strong with MJ The Musical, winner of four Tony’s. A sure-fire crowd pleaser, this jukebox musical includes Jackson’s biggest hits stunningly directed and choreographed by Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon. The question with jukebox musicals is how to engage the audience aside from the artists repertoire. MJ The Musical hints at but shies away from Jackson's many problems: the pill popping, the plastic surgeries, the skin bleaching, the legal issues instead focusing on his creative process and obsession with perfection.

Review: MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre
Roman Banks as 'MJ'

Lynn Nottage’s script, based on recollections of Jacksons childhood and a dramatized interview with MTV sometimes belabors the exposition, but generally tells his story with the strong ensemble taking on multiple roles as Jackson’s family and his mentors Quincy Jones and Berry Gordy. The show’s success weighs heavily on the shoulders of whoever plays Jackson and Roman Banks (Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”) is brilliant in the title role channeling the King of Pop in both the physical dancing and vocal affects.

Review: MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre
Roman Banks as ‘MJ’ and Anastasia Talley as ‘Katherine Jackson’

Check out the impressive creative team: Scenic Design by two-time Tony and Emmy Award winner Derek McLane, Lighting Design by seven-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, Costume Design by Tony and Emmy Award winner Paul Tazewell, Sound Design by Tony Award winner Gareth Owen, Projection Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Peter Nigrini, Hair & Wig Design by two-time Emmy Award nominee Charles G. LaPointe and Makeup Design by Emmy nominee Joe Dulude II. The look, feel and sounds are all top notch with a strong ensemble cast.

Review: MJ THE MUSICAL at Orpheum Theatre

MJ The Musical is exciting, loud, and eye-popping but also sad and tragic. Traumatized in youth, misunderstood as an adult, his immense genius hampered by money issues, perpetual hounding by the press and his own inner demons. Now a memory of talent lost too early, Jackson endures.

MJ The Musical continues through February 25th. For more information, click here or call the box office at (877)-662-8978.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy




Videos