MJ The Musical: What is the new Michael Jackson Broadway show and what songs appear?

16 February 2022, 12:53 | Updated: 16 February 2022, 13:17

MJ The Musical has opened on Broadway
MJ The Musical has opened on Broadway. Picture: BuddyBroadway/MJ The Musical/Alamy

By Tom Eames

A new musical about Michael Jackson has arrived on Broadway, and it looks like it's a perfect night out for fans of the King of Pop.

MJ The Musical - or simply just MJ - is a new jukebox musical featuring the music of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

With a story written by Lynn Nottage, the original production of MJ was originally scheduled to premiere on Broadway in mid-2020, but these plans were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The production finally opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on February 1, 2022, with previews beginning back in December, 2021.

MJ tells the story of Michael Jackson's life, and features over 25 of Michael Jackson's biggest hits.

The official synopsis reads: "The show takes audiences behind the scenes as Michael prepares for the 1992 Dangerous World Tour, providing an in-depth look at his process. As Michael and his collaborators rehearse their epic setlist, we are transported to pivotal creative moments from his career."

Myles Frost plays Michael in the production, while other real-life figures from the singer's life appear in the show including his father Joe Jackson, his mother Katherine Jackson, his siblings Jermaine, Randy, Marlon, Tito and Jackie, record producer Quincy Jones, Motown chief Berry Gordy, and younger versions of Michael himself.

Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon said of the musical: "The show is very much anchored in one particular moment in time. – I always bring up the fabulous movie that Spielberg made about Lincoln: You take one key moment, I suppose, in the history of someone’s life and then sort of use that as an anchor point for past storytelling and, perhaps, some kind of prophecy of what’s to come. We’ll be doing that with this story."

The musical is a collaboration between The Michael Jackson Estate and Columbia Live Stage.

The Michael Jackson songs which appear in MJ are:

  • Beat It
  • Tabloid Junkie
  • The Love You Save/I Want You Back/ABC
  • I'll Be There
  • Don't Stop Till You Get Enough
  • Dancing Machine
  • Blame it on the Boogie
  • Stranger in Moscow
  • I Can't Help It
  • You Can't Win
  • Keep the Faith
  • Thriller Mix/Wanna Be Startin Somethin
  • Earth Song/They Don't Care About Us
  • Billie Jean
  • The Way You Make Me Feel
  • Smooth Criminal
  • Can You Feel It
  • Money
  • Keep the Faith
  • She's Out of My Life
  • Jam
  • Human Nature
  • Bad/2 Bad
  • Price of Fame
  • Thriller
  • Man in the Mirror
  • Black or White
  • Workin' Day and Night

There are currently no plans to bring MJ to the UK, but considering the popularity of Thriller Live, we wouldn't be surprised if it made its way to the West End in the coming years.

Thriller Live ran for over 10 years in the UK, and will go on tour in 2022. That show was more of a concert revue showcasing Michael's biggest hits rather than having any narrative like MJ does.