Ephraim Sykes will play the King of Pop in MJ The Musical.

By Nick Romano
November 21, 2019 at 11:16 AM EST

MJ The Musical, the Michael Jackson Broadway show, has found its King of Pop.

Ephraim Sykes, who was nominated for a Tony for playing Motown recording artist David Ruffin in Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations, takes the title role in this production with Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon (An American in Paris), who will also direct.

Sykes was also seen in NBC’s Hairspray Live! in 2016 as Seaweed J. Stubbs.

MJ The Musical - Ephraim Sykes; Michael Jackson
Credit: Little Fang Photo; LUKE FRAZZA/AFP via Getty Images

“Ephraim Sykes is a bonafide triple threat, and dynamic rising star on Broadway,” Wheeldon said in a statement. “I am honored to be working with him on this exciting new production.”

With a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage (Sweat, Ruined), MJ The Musical, previously titled Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, is produced by Lia Vollack and The Michael Jackson Estate.

As Sykes’ casting is set and the production preps for previews next year, our current culture continues to grapple with Jackson’s legacy in light of resurfaced allegations of sexual abuse against the late singer. HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland highlights the stories of two men, Wade Robson and James Safechuck, and their claims that Jackson molested them when they were boys. Jackson’s estate denounced the documentary as “just another rehash of dated and discredited allegations,” while the work garnered a Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special. At a time when we’re collectively questioning if we’re okay with listening to Jackson’s music, MJ The Musical arrives with a score based around songs from his repertoire.

Performances will begin at New York City’s Neil Simon Theatre on July 6, 2020, and opening night is currently set for Aug. 13, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

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