Happy 2024 and hello sweet spring <3

March 7, 2024 | By Jeanne Ferris | Filed in: Jeanne Ferris.

On the invitation of a sweet friend, I joined three lovely ladies for an evening out to see MJ: The Musical at the San Diego Theatre. After an hour on the I-5 heading south to the Gaslamp District, we valeted at the US Grant Hotel. Heather saved us a table in their oh-so-elegant cocktail lounge with appetizers and glasses of chardonnay for Liese and me, rosé for Tonya, and H20 for Heather who was rehydrating.

When we hurried out to to make curtain call, it was in a downpour. Quite a few people were drenched and had to sit through the play dripping wet. Fortunately, all four of us brought our umbrellas. Liese even gave hers away because mine was a golf umbrella–(such a generous human being!) to a few women suffering through the rain while we stood in line. I saw a few adolescent children with their parents, many, many adult men and women were in the audience.

The play: this is a Broadway musical on a national tour. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage scripted this play to debut in 2020. Well, we all know what happened that year. I refer to it as the new B.C.

With the full blessing from Michael Jackson‘s estate, Nottage and brillant British director/choreographer Christopher Wheeldon created a musical storyline that revolves around Jackson’s Dangerous Tour in 1992. With flashbacks to Jackson’s past, through his music, they filtered in the details of his childhood and career leading up to the tour.

They chose that year because musically, Jackson was at the pinnacle of his career (who hasn’t tried to master his famous “moonwalk”?) while breaching musical genres once restricted to black performers/musicians on pop radio. He really was a musical genius.

My first vinyl 45 RPM record was the Jackson 5 with Michael’s hit single, Rockin Robin which followed Got to Be There, Michael’s first solo hit in 1971. They touched on his father’s militant and abusive managerial control on Jackson and his brothers. His sisters, La Toya and Janet were missing in the family line-up. I am guessing because they were not part of the Jackson 5 originally but since the mother was featured—why not just place the sisters in the background? Every sibling has spoken out against their father’s heavy hand.

I loved his music and tried not to think about the heinous accusations against MJ in the 2019 HBO documentary Leaving Neverland as I sat through the play. I wondered at what point in his life did he get so lost and so twisted? The second to last song Man in the Mirror brought tears to my eyes because of its well-meaning message that has gotten lost in the mire and muck of sordid Hollywood Babylon. A legacy tainted but reincarnated in wholesomeness with this play. One could feel MJ’s spirit alive in the theatre.

The dancers were phenomenal as was Roman Banks who played adult MJ. Little Michael and adolescent Michael were perfect. The orchestra and local musicians were so well placed and contributed to the entire musical magic for those several hours of live entertainment.

Here’s to the arts and culture community for supporting a necessary reason for uplifting our spirits and keeping the civil in civilization.

Stay safe and stay well friends,


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