Musical based on life of Michael Jackson set to hit Broadway in 2020
A new Broadway musical on the life of pop-king Michael Jackson is set to hit the stage in 2020. Although the show is not yet titled, it is being written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage who is best known for 'Sweat' and 'Ruined'. BBC reported that the Michael Jackson Estate and Columbia Live Stage company announced the news on Tuesday, but didn't inform which theatre the show will be staged at.
According to Variety, the background score will chiefly involve Jackson's catalog which consists of a list of some of his timeless hits such as 'Thriller', 'Smooth Criminal', 'Beat It', and 'Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough'.
The production will be directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner and contemporary ballet superstar Christopher Wheeldon, best known for his work in 'An American in Paris - A Musical', and it is likely to consist of some of Michael Jackson's signature moves such as the moonwalk.
It is yet unknown if the musical will feature the pop king's controversial talking points such as his 2005 trial and absolution over claims of sexual abuse. In a recent report, People reported about Jackson Estate's odd relations with ABC and the Walt Disney Company, in spite of their collaborative involvement in the production of the musical. In May, the estate of sued ABC and parent company Disney saying the network's recent prime-time special 'The Last Days of Michael Jackson' a two-hour documentary on the singer’s last days improperly used the King of Pop’s songs, music videos and movies.
Michael Jackson's estate had issued a statement condemning the network: "We believe the special to be another crass and unauthorized attempt to exploit the life, music, and image of Michael Jackson without respect for Michael’s legacy, intellectual property rights or his children." It also claimed that the network used a plethora of copyrighted material without permission from his hits, such as 'Billie Jean' and 'Beat It', and certain music video clips of 'Thriller' and 'Bad'. Apparently, footage from the 2016 Spike Lee documentary on Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall and the 2009 documentary Michael Jackson's 'This is It' were also used.
However, in a statement obtained by the People, Howard Weitzman, the attorney of Jackson estate, said, "Disney and ABC committed willful and intentional copyright infringement when they used the Estate’s copyrighted materials without the Estate’s permission." He also added, "Disney and ABC’s conduct is also contrary to law and industry practice and despite several cautionary letters from the Estate to Disney and ABC attorneys. Disney and ABC never sought the Jackson Estate’s permission to use any of the material owned by the Estate in the broadcast."