|"MJ" ANNOUNCES COMPLETE CAST|
|Posted by: Official_Press_Release 04:01 pm EDT 08/10/21|
|COMPLETE CAST ANNOUNCED
DECEMBER 6, 2021
AT BROADWAY’S NEIL SIMON THEATRE
OPENING NIGHT CONFIRMED FOR TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2022
AT 6:30 P.M.
New York, NY – The complete cast for the highly anticipated new musical, MJ, was announced today by producers Lia Vollack Productions and The Michael Jackson Estate. As previously announced, Myles Frost will be making his Broadway debut as Michael Jackson. MJ, inspired by the life and art of Michael Jackson, will begin performances on Broadway on December 6, 2021, with an opening night set for Tuesday, February 1, 2022, at the newly refurbished Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd Street).
Joining Mr. Frost in the cast are Quentin Earl Darrington as Joseph Jackson / Rob, Whitney Bashor as Rachel, Gabriel Ruiz as Alejandro, Antoine L. Smith as Berry Gordy / Nick, Joey Sorge as Dave, John Edwards as Jackie Jackson / Ensemble, Ayana George as Katherine Jackson, Apollo Levine as Quincy Jones / Tito Jackson, Tavon Olds-Sample as Michael, Lamont Walker II as Jermaine Jackson / Ensemble, Zelig Williams as Marlon Jackson / Ensemble, with Raymond Baynard, Kali May Grinder, Oyoyo Joi, Carina-Kay Louchiey, Renni Anthony Magee, Aaron James McKenzie, Aramie Payton, Kamille Upshaw, Ryan VanDenBoom, and Darius Wright rounding out the ensemble.
MJ features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize® winner Lynn Nottage and a score made up of some of the best-loved, top-selling songs in recording history. Tony Award winner Christopher Wheeldon will direct and choreograph.
The creative team will feature Scenic Design by Tony and two-time Emmy Award winner Derek McLane, Lighting Design by six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz, Costume Design by Tony and Emmy Award winner Paul Tazewell, Sound Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Gareth Owen, Projection Design by two-time Tony Award nominee Peter Nigrini, and Hair & Wig Design by two-time Emmy Award nominee Charles LaPointe.
The creative team will also feature Musical Supervision by David Holcenberg, Orchestrations and Arrangements by David Holcenberg and Tony Award winner Jason Michael Webb, and Music Direction by Jason Michael Webb.
Tickets will be available on Ticketmaster.com.
Quentin Earl Darrington (Joseph Jackson / Rob) was most recently seen on Broadway as Agwe in the Tony Award-winning revival of Once On This Island for which he earned a Grammy Award nomination. He made his Broadway debut in the Tony nominated revival of Ragtime, starring as Coalhouse Walker Jr. and was also seen as Old Deuteronomy in the Broadway revival of CATS. National Tours: Memphis, The Color Purple, The Lion King, Ragtime. Q has also starred in productions at The Kennedy Center, NY City Center, Papermill Playhouse, the MUNY, The Cincinnati Playhouse, Sacramento Music Circus, and the Goodspeed Opera House among others... In addition to his stage career, Q has recently guest starred on “NCIS: NOLA,” “The Blacklist,” “The Good Fight,” “Second Wave,” and recurs on the new CBS drama “The Code.” He holds an MFA from the University of Central Florida and a BFA from the University of South Florida.
Whitney Bashor (Rachel). Broadway: The Bridges of Madison County (Marian/Chiara, OBC. Clarence Derwent Award). Off-Broadway: The Unsinkable Molly Brown, Ordinary Days, The Fantasticks. Regional: The Bridges of Madison County (WTF), Merrily We Roll Along (Wallis Annenberg; Ovation Award Nominee), Fly By Night (Dallas Theatre Center), Light in the Piazza (PTC; Barrymore Award Winner). TV: Manifest, FBI: Most Wanted, Law & Order: SVU, Boardwalk Empire, All My Children. BFA: University of Michigan. Thank you Mom, Dad, and my incredible husband, Jared. Baby girl Luna, this is all for you.
Gabriel Ruiz (Alejandro). Broadway debut. New York: Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center). Chicago: Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Writers’ Theatre, Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, and more. Film/TV: Christmas Again (Disney), “Chicago Fire,” “Chicago PD” (NBC), “Boss” (Starz). Thanks to the whole MJ family for inviting me to the ride of my life!
Antoine L. Smith (Berry Gordy / Nick) is an Emmy Award Winner and is excited to be bringing MJ to Broadway. Other Broadway Credits include The Tony and Grammy Award-Winning The Color Purple (Revival); Carousel; Miss Saigon; Memphis; and the First Broadway National Tour of Cinderella.
Joey Sorge (Dave) was last seen on Broadway as “Rudy The Voice” in A Bronx Tale - The Musical. Twenty-year career on Broadway also includes: Nice Work If You Can Get It, How To Succeed in Business, The Drowsy Chaperone, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and the 2001 revival of Follies. Off-Broadway: Help (The Shed), Carmelina (York Theatre), Saturday Night (Second Stage), Summer of ’42 (Variety Arts). National Tour: Lord Evelyn in Anything Goes, The Fonz in Happy Days -The Musical, and Jimmy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Regional: Trip To Bountiful (Actor’s Ensemble); Boeing, Boeing (Gulfshore); Crazy For You (Sharon); Lend Me A Tenor (Westchester Bway); White Christmas; Singin’ In The Rain; Nice Work If You Can Get It (Ogunquit); Victor, Victoria (TUTS); When You Wish (Phoenix Theatre); Animal Crackers (Williamstown). TV: “FBI: Most Wanted,” “The Deuce,” “The Good Fight,” “Younger,” “Elementary,” “Deception,” “Person of Interest,” “The Path.” Film: Conditional, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Providence, and Audrey. Insta/Twitter: @sojoey www.joeysorge.com
John Edwards (Jackie Jackson / Ensemble). Actor/Singer/Dancer/ Songwriter. Last seen in NYC revival of Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Chita Award winner, Lucille Lortel nominee). Broadway and 1st National Tour of Jersey Boys (Hal Miller/Barry Belson/others). National/International tour of Hairspray (Seaweed J. Stubbs) and In the Heights at The Kennedy Center (Domingo). And more. IG @therealjohnedwards
Ayana George (Katherine Jackson) is excited to be making her Broadway Debut in MJ. An accomplished Singer/Songwriter, Ayana has performed alongside names such as John Legend, Jazmine Sullivan, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Rowland, Kirk Franklin, and CeCe Winan, to name a few. Ayana recently went viral on social media with her riveting rendition of the Chaka Khan classic “Through The Fire”, as well as a heart-wrenching performance of J. Cole’s “Be Free”. Follow Ayana’s journey on IG @ayana_is.
Apollo Levine (Quincy Jones / Tito Jackson) hails from Abbeville, LA by way of South Bend, IN. Theater: Sister Act, Dreamgirls, Ragtime, and originated the role of Chinese Superhero The Monkey King in Beijing, China. Television: “Let’s Stay Together,” “Criminal Minds.” Experiencing the iconic videos for “Scream” and “Remember the Time”, Apollo was captivated by the artistry of “The King of Pop.” Former lead singer of rock band SteppHeavy, Apollo is excited to be making his Broadway debut with MJ.
Tavon Olds-Sample (Michael) is ecstatic to be making his Broadway debut in MJ. Credits include, Regional: Scottsboro Boys (Beck Center for the Arts), I Sing the Rising Sea (Virginia Stage Company). Thank you to God, Family, GSA, BW and CGF! Hit me up on IG: @tavonlamontt
Lamont Walker II (Jermaine Jackson / Ensemble) is humbled to be making his Broadway Debut with MJ. Other Credits include: Signature Theatre (The Scottsboro Boys, Haywood), Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera (Aida, Mereb), The Playwrights Realm, and many others. Lamont is an alumnus of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts. Asé and to God. Black Lives Matter. @lamontwalkerii
Zelig Williams (Marlon Jackson / Ensemble) is a dancer/choreographer that grew up in Columbia, SC. He has most recently graduated from Pace University with a BFA in Commercial Dance in 2020. His Broadway debut was with the Broadway cast of Hamilton the American Musical from 2016-2018. He has also worked for Hugh Jackman and was a part of his world tour in 2019 (tmtmts). Zelig is inspired by dance and is working to achieve the goals that truly speak to him. He’s also excited to be joining the original cast of MJ the Musical and gives all thanks to God for blessing him with this opportunity.
Raymond Baynard (Ensemble). Broadway: Hamilton. National Tours: The Lion King, Hamilton. New Jersey native and graduate from S.U.N.Y. Purchase. Performances are dedicated to my mother, I love and miss you. To the Browns, thank you and may God bless you.
Kali May Grinder (Ensemble). Broadway/NYC: Frozen (ensemble/OBC), Wicked (ensemble) and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular (Rockette). National Tour: Wicked. Big love and gratitude to DZ, LDC, and her ever-supportive family. @grinderkali
Oyoyo Joi (Swing) is one of eight kids to HERO parents. NYC grown and so happy to be here. Broadway: The Book of Mormon. Tours: The Book of Mormon (First National Tour), Memphis (second National Tour). Film: Lamb of God (Mary of Bethany), Green Flake (Executive Producer). @oyoyojoi.
Carina-Kay Louchiey (Ensemble) is thrilled be making her Broadway Debut! Born in London but raised in Georgia, Carina-Kay’s a proud graduate of The University of Michigan. She was most recently seen in the LA company of Hamilton. Endless love and gratitude to her parents & RISPA, Rachel at Telsey, Baldy, A3 Artists Agency & Jaime, and BroadwayDreams. Dream, Create, Inspire…Manifest the life you desire.
Renni Anthony Magee (Swing) is an entertainer/interdisciplinary artist. Theatre credits: Love Life (NYCC Encores!). Guys & Dolls (Guthrie). He won the Henry Award, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a musical, for his portrayal of Will Parker in Oklahoma! (Denver Center for the Performing Arts). Dancer in Porgy & Bess (Metropolitan Opera). Dance credits: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Featured dancer in Miss Chloe Flowers Carol of the Bells music video. Training: Interlochen Center for the Performing Arts-Dance. The Boston Conservatory-Theatre. Instagram: @renni_anthony
Aaron James McKenzie (Swing) is unbelievably excited to making his Broadway debut in a show that feels like home. He wants to give all of his love to his family and friends for the consistent love and support; he wouldn’t be here without them. Shout out to Link 2020, and as always, GO NOLES!
Aramie Payton (Swing). Broadway debut! Entertainer, creator and thinker, working across art forms. LOVE brought me here and LOVE will take me wherever I go. Big thanks to God and to all of my fam! @mynameisaramie
Kamille Upshaw (Swing). Born & Raised in Washington, D.C., Kamille is a Graduate of The Juilliard School and The Baltimore School for the Arts. Recently seen in “The Man, The Music, The Show” Hugh Jackman world tour. Original Cast of Mean Girls on Broadway and two-year swing at Broadway’s Hamilton. Kamille is ready to hit the stage again and make some magic!
Ryan VanDenBoom (Ensemble) is honored to be sharing the MJ stage with some of the most talented and gracious humans he’s ever met. You may have caught him in the television series Fosse/Verdon on FX, and he also can be seen dancing in the Coen Brother’s farce Hail, Caesar! On stage Ryan has performed in the most recent Broadway revival of Annie, Something Rotten! (OBC), Bandstand (OBC), and in the Chicago company of Hamilton. Other stage work has found Ryan performing with the physical comedy troupe Parallel Exit, and in the immersive theatre show Acoustica Electronica. Ryan has been featured as a soloist with multiple symphony orchestras including the Chicago Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony and Pittsburgh Symphony. Special thanks to our producers and Lia Vollack for their vision and guidance in bringing this group together and this show to fruition.
Darius Wright (Swing) is a Houston native and proud OCU alumni and so close to finally meeting Janet Jackson! Darius has been seen on Broadway in Pretty Woman (OBC) and A Bronx Tale, in New York City in Mack And Mabel (NYCC) and his solo concert D’s Company, as well as on tour and internationally in Matilda. Darius is looking forward to being part of the return to Broadway as we continue the work towards making the entertainment industry the best it can be. For more info, you can find him on Twitter/Instagram: @DariusAWright or www.DariusWright.com
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