Australian producer Michael Cassel has joined original Broadway producers Lia Vollack, John Branca and John McClain to announce that the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit MJ will make its Australian premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre in February 2025, marking a significant moment for Sydney’s vibrant arts and cultural scene.
MJ takes audiences back to 1992 and inside the creation of the iconic Dangerous World Tour. The production goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Michael Jackson into legendary status.
Seen by more than a million people on Broadway, MJ was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning four including Best Choreography for the show’s creator, Artistic Associate of The Royal Ballet Christopher Wheeldon OBE, and Best Actor in a Musical for the show’s original Broadway star, Myles Frost.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled with the way audiences on Broadway and across the US have embraced MJ with such enthusiasm and joy, and I am beyond delighted that Sydney will be the next city on this incredible show’s journey,” said MJ’s original Broadway producer, Lia Vollack. “We can’t wait to bring MJ to Australia for the very first time.”
From the brilliant mind of two-time Pulitzer Prize winning Nottage, MJ imagines that an MTV journalist and her camera operator are invited into the rehearsal room as Michael Jackson creates the spectacular concert experience that was the Dangerous World Tour.
Through their lens, MJ reveals moments from the complex history of his family and takes us on a journey into his imagination and his inspiration as he faces the challenges to make the Dangerous World Tour match his creative genius.
Featuring more than 25 of Michael Jackson’s greatest hits from across his career including Beat It, Smooth Criminal, Man in The Mirror and Thriller, MJ has captured the hearts and imaginations of Broadway audiences where it consistently plays to packed houses, has people leaping from their seats every night and has earned enormous acclaim.
Casting for the Australian production will begin immediately. “Finding the people who will bring this incredible story to life is going to be an enormous undertaking,” said MJ’s Australian producer Michael Cassel.
“On Broadway, key members of the original cast undertook an extensive bootcamp prior to rehearsal to learn to execute these challenging roles with the legitimacy that a production of this calibre deserves.”
“We are excited to find the people who will portray this story with the same authenticity and power that audiences have enjoyed on Broadway and soon, on the West End,” said Mr Cassel.
MJ opened on Broadway in February 2021 while a US tour began performances in Chicago in August. A London production will begin in March 2024 with a German production opening in December that year.
With a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning writer Lynn Nottage (Ruined, Sweat) MJ is directed and choreographed by Royal Ballet Associate Artist Christopher Wheeldon OBE, who won the Tony Award for Best Choreography of a Musical for MJ, and whose previous Award-winning directing credits include An American in Paris.
The internationally renowned creative team for MJ also includes Scenic Design by Tony Award and two-time Emmy Award winner Derek McLane (Moulin Rouge! The Musical), Lighting Design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz (Once) and Costume Design by Tony Award and Emmy Award winner Paul Tazewell (Hamilton).
Sound Design by Tony Award and Olivier Award winning Gareth Owen (Come From Away), Projection Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Peter Nigrini (Dear Evan Hansen), and Hair & Wig Design by two-time Emmy Award nominee Charles LaPointe (The Color Purple).
Musical Supervision is by Tony Award nominee David Holcenberg (Matilda), and the Orchestrations and Arrangements are by David Holcenberg and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb (The Color Purple).
The Australian premiere of MJ is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. MJ will be a highlight of Sydney’s cultural events calendar in 2025, further establishing Sydney as the centre point for creativity in the Asia Pacific region.
MJ will premiere at the Sydney Lyric Theatre from February, 2025. A waitlist to be first to access pre-sale tickets when they are released is now available at mjthemusical.com.au.
Image: MJ The Musical – courtesy of Michael Cassel Group