We suspect it will be...a thriller. Giphy

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?

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Courtesy Schelfhaudt

These Retired Ballroom Dancers Started a Dance-Themed Coffee Company

Like many dancers, when Lauren Schelfhaudt and Jean Paul retired from professional ballroom dancing in 2016, they felt lost. "There was this huge void," says Schelfhaudt.

But after over 20 years of dancing, plus United States and World Championship titles, reality shows, and high-profile choreography gigs (and Paul's special claim to fame, as "the guy who makes Bradley Cooper look bad" in Silver Linings Playbook), teaching just didn't fill the void. "I got to the point where it wasn't giving me that creative outlet," says Paul.

When the pair (who are life and business partners but were never dance partners—they competed against one another) took a post-retirement trip to Costa Rica, they were ready to restart their lives. They found inspiration in an expected place: A visit to a coffee farm.

Though they had no experience in coffee roasting or business, they began building their own coffee company. In 2018, the duo officially launched Dancing Ox Coffee Roasters, where they create dance-inspired blends out of their headquarters in Belmont, North Carolina.

We talked to Schelfhaudt and Paul about how their dance background makes them better coffee roasters, and why coffee is an art form all its own:

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