Tony nominee Ephraim Sykes is set to play the late King of Pop when "MJ the Musical" makes its New York debut in the summer of 2020.
Producer Lia Vollack and The Michael Jackson Estate announced on Thursday (Nov. 21) that Ephraim Sykes is set to take on the role of the late King of Pop. Sykes has been cast as Jackson in Broadway's incoming MJ the Musical. The production — previously titled Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, after Jackson's 1979 single — will begin preview performances July 6 with an official opening set for Aug. 13 at New York's Neil Simon Theatre.
The show — directed and choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon — will cover Jackson's career milestones with an emphasis on his achievements throughout his 20s and 30s. MJ the Musical will feature Jackson's catalog of hits and a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage.
News of Sykes' casting comes months after HBO's Leaving Neverland — which spans four hours and explores sexual abuse claims made against Jackson by former child stars James Safechuck and Wade Robson — won the Emmy for best documentary or nonfiction special. Following Leaving Neverland's debut in January at the Sundance Film Festival, Jackson's estate called the project "a tabloid character assassination" and insisted it "isn't a documentary," while Jackson's family called director Dan Reed and the pic's two accusers "opportunists."