The Michael Jackson Estate has called off a Chicago run of its jukebox musical, Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, ahead of the release of the controversial documentary Leaving Neverland. The production was set to open around Halloween; it will now open on Broadway in New York in the summer of 2020.
The Estate and producers Columbia Live Stage blamed the cancellation on scheduling difficulties related to a recent strike by the actors’ union, Actors Equity. The strike, which was declared on January 7th, ended on February 8th.
Meanwhile, doc Leaving Neverland, in which two men claim the Jackson sexually molested them as youngsters, is set to premiere on HBO on March 3rd. The four-hour film will run in two installments, with the second on March 4th.
“The film shows how sexual abuse leaves psychological scars, how fame can be seductive enough to warp moral compasses (especially regarding the parents) and how complicated things can be when you love someone who may be hurting you,” Rolling Stone wrote in a report following the film’s premiere at Sundance. “It’s also a portrait of a man who was many things to many people, and how that image may not sync up with what some folks want to believe.”
The Estate, however, has called the film “a public lynching.” “The creators of this film were not interested in the truth,” it said in a statement. “They never interviewed a single solitary soul who knew Michael except the two perjurers and their families. That is not journalism, and it’s not fair, yet the media are perpetuating these stories.”
Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough features a book by Lynn Nottage, who has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for 2009’s Ruined and 2017’s Sweat. Director Christopher Wheeldon is leading the project and handling its choreography; he won a Best Choreography Tony for his adaptation of An American in Paris. They intend to hold a developmental work session in New York this fall.