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Moonwalk Down Memory Lane: A Night at MJ the Musical

Last night, the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City was electrified by the opening of MJ the Musical, a thrilling tribute to the King of Pop himself. As a longtime fan of Michael Jackson’s music and legacy, I was excited to experience this spectacular production, and it definitely did not disappoint.

The cast brought the iconic characters to life with impeccable skill and charisma. Leading the show was the incredibly talented Roman Banks, who embodied MJ with remarkable precision and passion. From his signature dance moves to his unmistakable vocal style, Banks captured the essence of the legendary performer, delivering a performance that was both captivating and deeply moving.

Supporting Banks was a cast of equally impressive performers, each bringing their own unique flair to the stage. Standout performances included Brandon Lee Harris as Michael, whose electrifying dance routines left the audience in awe. Harris and Banks together embodied Michael Jackson throughout different years in his life with seamless transitions.

Josiah Benson as Little Michael, performed with so much energy and brought an adorable and youthful light to the stage. Anastasia Talley as Katherine Jackson gave a stunning performance. Her soulful rendition of “I’ll Be There” brought tears to my eyes as her vocals soared through the theatre.

One of the most impressive aspects of the production was the seamless transitions between characters played by the same actor. Whether it was Devin Bowles effortlessly switching from Rob to Joseph Jackson, or Talley seamlessly transitioning between multiple roles, the cast’s versatility and agility was truly remarkable.

The choreography and direction by Christopher Wheeldon, was another highlight of the show, with intricate dance routines that paid homage to Michael Jackson’s iconic moves. From the smooth moonwalk to the gravity-defying spins, the dancers brought an energy and excitement to the stage that had the audience on their feet the moment the show ended.

Natasha Katz’s lighting design added another layer of visual splendor to the production, with dynamic lighting effects that enhanced the mood and atmosphere of each scene. Whether it was the pulsating lights of a concert performance or the soft glow of a moonlit night, the lighting design perfectly complemented the action on stage.

Of course, no review of MJ the Musical would be complete without mentioning the costumes by Paul Tazewell. From the sequined jackets to the glittering gloves, every detail was meticulously crafted to evoke the iconic style of the King of Pop himself. And let’s not forget Michael Jackson’s trademark fedora, which Banks not only wore throughout the show, but wore while dancing with effortless coolness.

The true star of the show was the music itself. From the infectious rhythms of “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” to the popular and edgy “Smooth Criminal,” every song was a reminder of Michael Jackson’s unparalleled talent and enduring legacy. As the final notes of “Thriller” echoed through the theatre, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to experience the magic of Michael Jackson’s music live on stage.

MJ the Musical is show that shouldn’t be missed for fans of the King of Pop and music lovers alike. With its dazzling choreography, electrifying performances, and truly unforgettable music, MJ the Musical is a tribute to Michael Jackson’s legacy that will keep you singing and dancing all night long.

Tickets are available at or by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787).

Photo Credit: Matthew Murphy

February 29, 2024

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