The show will begin previews next July at the Neil Simon Theatre, and it'll open officially later that August. But who's behind the man in the mirror, so to speak? Get to know Ephraim Sykes ahead of his debut as Michael himself.
Who is Ephraim Sykes?
Ephraim Sykes is a 34-year-old American actor who's known for playing George Packer in the Broadway musical Hamilton. He's also a theater veteran, with roles in The Little Mermaid, Memphis, Newsies, Motown: The Musical, and Ain't Too Proud as David Ruffin.
He's had his fair share of theatrical performances, so he's hardly a greenhorn when it comes to dazzling on-stage shows. Ain't Too Proud showcases his ability to bring musicians to life nicely.
In addition to Broadway roles, Ephraim has also appeared on the small screen. You've probably seen him on TV shows such as 30 Rock, Smash, Vinyl, Detroit, and Crisis in Six Scenes.
Most notably, he played Seaweed J. Stubbs in NBC's Hairspray Live!, an on-air production of the popular musical.
Ephraim has also been nominated for three Astaire Awards, one Tony Award, and one Grammy for the upcoming 2020 Grammy Awards for his role in Ain't Too Proud. If it wasn't immediately obvious, he's quite the talent.
After getting cast on MJ the Musical, Ephraim took to Instagram to share the exciting news.
"My ACTUAL wildest dream is coming true. All I can say is thank you Lord," he wrote. "Thank you to my family and friends that prayed and continue (please continue) to pray for me...that lift me up and told me I deserve to be here even when I didn’t/don’t believe it. I’ll do my best to honor the man who made me wanna sing and dance in the first place. Love you MJ, love y’all!"
So, what is MJ the Musical about?
MJ The Musical is a celebration of the King of Pop's life and career. It will be rife with several of his biggest hits, including "Billie Jean," "Thriller," and "Man in the Mirror." It only recently received a change in titles from Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough to the new name, MJ The Musical.
It will be directed and choreographed by Tony winner Christopher Wheeldon and produced by Lia Vollack and the Michael Jackson Estate.
Unfortunately, there aren't many details about what the musical will entail beyond Ephraim singing and dancing his way through Michael Jackson's familiar catalog. It's unclear if he'll be acting out much of the life and times of the King of Pop or if the musical will be focusing more on costumes and the hits, but either way, it looks like they got the right man for the job.
Of course, he'll have to absolutely nail the vocal sections, though — and mimicking Michael Jackson is a tall, tall order.
We'll have to wait and see what this theater vet brings to the table next year when the "Beat It" singer's legendary career lights up the Great White Way. Until then, you might want to brush up on some of Ephraim's work to see what you'll be in for when you pick up your tickets.
He's got a tidy little resume to go off of, that's for sure!