The name of an upcoming musical about Michael Jackson is getting changed before it even comes out.
Originally titled “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” it will now be called simply “MJ.” The show is currently in the midst of a development process in New York City and is scheduled to debut sometime next summer.
Though no specific date or theater has been announced, Rick Miramontez, who is a spokesperson for the musical, confirmed the title change of the show. It was simply decided that “MJ” was better than using a specific Michael Jackson song title.
One of the challenges for the production is overcoming all the many allegations that have been been leveled against the late pop star relating to the sexual abuse of children. While these charges had been largely dormant since the singer’s death ten years ago at the age of 50, they surfaced once again upon the release of HBO’s “Leaving Neverland.” The documentary features interviews of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who claim Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. Jackson’s estate has vehemently denied all the allegations made in the film.
Still, the controversy ignited by “Leaving Neverland” was strong enough that, upon release of the film, the producers of the musical — which include both Columbia Live Stage and the Michael Jackson Estate — canceled a tryout of the show that was scheduled to take place in Chicago at the Nederlander Theatre.
Lynn Nottage, who has twice won Pulitzer Prizes, wrote the book for “MJ.” The musical reportedly heavily relies on Jackson’s songs for its music. These include “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” and “Smooth Criminal.” Christopher Wheeldon, who won a Tony Award for “An American in Paris” is both choreographing the show and directing it.