The Apocryphal Tragedy of King Michael
A master of self-mythology, Michael Jackson used onstage performance and off-stage media shenanigans to make himself the most famous man in the world. But in the wake of shocking allegations of child abuse, his carefully crafted persona came apart. After years of self-imposed exile, and facing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt, Jackson made a desperate attempt to return to the spotlight. He believed his ill-fated This Is It concert was his only hope for survival. But in a state of increasing exhaustion and paranoia, he also believed it would kill him.
The play is a Tragedy in the classical sense of a royal figure impelled toward his own downfall. I call it Apocryphal because it lives - as Jackson himself did - between truth and lies; between hard facts and myth-making.
Michael Jackson: a black woman, 40s
MJ: a black man, 20s-30s
Tohme: a Middle Eastern man, 40s-50s
Randy, others: a white man, 40s
Grace, The Cook, others: a black woman, 30s-40s
Jermain, others: a black man, 40s
The Doctor, others: a black man, 40s
Doctor Klein, Coach, others: a white man, 40s
King Michael received a Super Lab workshop, co-produced by Playwright Horizons and Clubbed Thumb in 2015, and a reading at Vineyard Theatre in 2016. Both were directed by Robert O'Hara.