The Student News Site of Los Osos High School

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

MJ the Musical: The Latest Smash Hit in Hollywood

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

A legend blazing through the charts has now entered a new performing stage. 

MJ, also known as Michael Jackson, is most famously known for his hits: popular soundtracks spun from rhythmical patterns and genius lyricism. 

The musical debuted on Broadway on February 1, 2022, and is now on tour, rampaging across the country. The cast visited Los Angeles (LA) last month and is now playing in San Francisco. It ran from December 20, 2023, to January 28, 2024 in LA. 

The show encapsulates the life of Jackson, digging through the chapters of his early childhood. Crooked family dynamics are put on full display and grant a taste of secrets about Jackson’s father, Joseph Jackson. 

An easy antagonist to pin in the musical is Father Jackson, as he had a harsh personality that pushed both Jackson and the Jackson Five over the edge with responsibility and perfection. 

Later in the show, Father Jackson is displayed as the original inspiration for “Thriller”, a famous pop hit by Jackson, and Jackson’s terror of his father is shown. 

The setting of the performance takes place in a rehearsal space dedicated to Jackson and the ensemble. Before the show officially began, actors were already onstage, preparing for the performance. 

However, this element was completely rehearsed for the show, delving the audience into the reality of performing: warming up and stretching before a set of intense musical numbers.

As the show dives deep into a fantastic introduction to the legend, the audience is introduced to a set of reporters. Their encounter with Jackson sets up an underlying conflict for the story.  

“The demons that Jackson battles in “MJ,” his father and the media, are figured as monstrous. But if there was darkness behind the angelic falsetto, a mix of light and shadow…, “MJ” enacts a sleight of hand, insisting it didn’t belong to him,” said Naveen Kumar from Variety. 

This review takes a step into the murky waters of Jackson’s judgment, characterizing the infamous pop star in a more positive light than the general public is accustomed to. 

A major part of Jackson’s life was the constant prying of the public eye, as well as the overall drama surrounding him. With the reporters who come into the studio, it is obvious Jackson is uncomfortable with them being in his rehearsal space, and many subjects of scandalous speculations are hinted at. 

One final element of “MJ” was the use of Jackson’s songs, both popular and not. Using many of his hits, the show dives deeper into how symbolism is incorporated and how lyrics are used to tell his story.

The systematics of the show were a work of genius. Diving from internal conflict to internal conflict, Jackson is shown as the victim of society, not the perpetrator. 

In a review written by Chris Jones from The New York Daily News, the critic expresses his enchantment toward the musical. “…the show has all kinds of artistic beauties to offer the artist’s global fans… the show is genuinely beautiful to experience throughout… It’s a gorgeously executed celebration of a painted subject’s artistry.” 

I couldn’t agree more. 

From colorful choreography and brilliant blocking, “MJ the Musical” spun a controversial case back into a living legend. The audience is reminded of Jackson’s genius in pop music and his insistent need to be perfect. 

Fueled by pop hits, mesmerizing flares of tone, and creative characters, “MJ” is a must-see, just as necessary to the entertainment world as Jackson was himself. 

Donate to The Grizzly Gazette

Your donation will support the student journalists of Los Osos High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Grizzly Gazette