Michael Jackson Broadway Musical Casts Its King of Pop

Michael Jackson
MJ The Musical / The Michael Jackson Estate

Tony Award nominee Ephraim Sykes will take on the lead role in the upcoming production.

MJ, the upcoming musical set to Michael Jackson’s hits, has found its King of Pop. Tony Award nominee Ephraim Sykes has been tapped to portray the singer on Broadway, producers Lia Vollack and the Michael Jackson Estate announced on Thursday. 

Sykes can currently be seen performing onstage in the hit production Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations as recording artist David Ruffin. The role earned him a Tony Award nomination in 2019 for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. He was previously seen in Hamilton, Motown the Musical and Newsies

Ephriam Sykes as Michael Jackson in MJ / Courtesy of Little Fang

The casting news comes after the production was pushed back and renamed MJ. Now set for an August 2020 opening, the show will feature a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, who made her Broadway writing debut with the play Sweat, which was nominated for three Tony Awards, including Best Play and Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role for both Johanna Day and Michelle Wilson. Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph. 

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

MJ The Musical will begin preview performances on Monday, July 6, 2020, at the Neil Simon Theatre, with an opening night set for Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020.