A Michael Jackson Musical Is Coming To Broadway—With Christopher Wheeldon As Director
Christopher Wheeldon is going to be giving Michael Jackson some new moves: The Royal Ballet artistic associate is bringing the King of Pop to Broadway.
The unlikely pairing was announced today by Jackson's estate. Wheeldon will serve as both director and choreographer for the new musical inspired by Michael Jackson's life, which is aiming for a 2020 Broadway opening. This will be Wheeldon's second time directing and choreographing, following 2015's Tony Award-winning An American in Paris.
Wheeldon is a surprising choice, to say the least. There are many top choreographers who worked with Jackson directly, like Wade Robson and Brian Friedman, who could have been tapped for the project. Or the production could have even hired someone who actually choreographed on Jackson when he was alive, like Buddha Stretch.
Christopher Wheeldon creating Bound To for San Francisco Ballet. Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB
Few other details have been announced so far, but The Hollywood Reporter notes that, "The musical will draw its score from Jackson's extensive catalog, which ranges from his Motown hits as a child in the Jackson 5 through era-defining solo albums that sold millions and changed the course of pop and R&B history, chief among them Off the Wall, Thriller and Bad."
The book for the show will be written by none other than Lynn Nottage, who's won two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama for her work on Ruined and Sweat. Although jukebox musicals focused on one musical artist seem to be a dime a dozen these days (see: Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Escape to Margaritaville, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical and many others coming up in the Broadway pipeline), Nottage will no doubt bring some serious gravitas to the form.
Our biggest question, of course, is what Wheeldon will do with Jackson's many iconic dance moves—starting with the moonwalk. And...who's gonna play MJ?
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.
On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.
SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.