The first national tour of MJ the Musical officially opened
August 9 following previews that began August 1 at Broadway in Chicago’s
James M. Nederlander Theatre. Performances will continue in the Windy
City through September 2.
Roman Banks, the first BIPOC actor to play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen, plays Michael Jackson. The actor, who previously played Howie in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, was also seen in TikTok's first-ever commissioned livestream musical, For You, Paige.
He is joined by Jamaal Fields-Green as the MJ Alternate, Brandon Lee Harris as Michael, Josiah Benson as Little Michael, Ethan Joseph as Little Michael, Devin Bowles as Joseph Jackson/Rob, Mary Kate Moore as Rachel, J. Daughtry as Berry Gordy/Nick, Josh A. Dawson as Tito Jackson/Quincy Jones, Jaylen Lyndon Hunter as Little Marlon, Matt Loehr as Dave, Da’Von Moody as Alejandro, and Anastasia Talley as Katherine Jackson/Kate.
Ensemble members, swings, and understudies include JoJo Carmichael, Croix DiIenno, Kellie Drobnick, Kyle Dupree, Zuri Noelle Ford, Jahir L. Hipps, Bryson Jacobi Jackson, Rajané Katurah, Jordan Markus, Matteo Marretta, Janayé McAlpine, Jay McKenzie, Kendrick Mitchell, Chelsea Mitchell-Bonsu, Zion Pradier, Ayla Stackhouse, Brion Marquis Watson, Charles P. Way, and Malcolm Miles Young.
Check out photos from the official opening night of the national tour below:
Director Christopher Wheeldon previously said, “I am extremely
excited that the incredibly talented Roman Banks will soon be dazzling
audiences across America as Michael Jackson in MJ. Roman is a stunning performer, and we are lucky to have him leading the company on our first national tour.”
MJ began previews on Broadway December 6, 2021, at the Neil Simon Theatre prior
to an official opening February 1, 2022. Detroit native Elijah Rhea
Johnson stepped into the leading role of Michael Jackson April 4,
succeeding Myles Frost, who won a Tony for his performance.
The musical features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn
Nottage and a score made up of some of the most popular songs in
recording history. Tony Award winner Wheeldon directs and choreographs.
MJ also has sets by Derek McLane, lighting by Natasha Katz, costumes by Paul Tazewell, sound design by Gareth Owen, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe, music direction by Jason Michael Webb, musical supervision by David Holcenberg, and orchestrations by Holcenberg and Webb. Casting is by Rachel Hoffman of The Telsey Office.
The show took home four Tony Awards in total, including Best
Choreography, Best Lighting Design in a Musical, and Best Sound Design
in a Musical.
For tickets and the current tour schedule, visit MJTheMusical.com.
Read more about the hit musical in the Playbill Vault.