Theatre: Michael Jackson’s glove speaks
For the Love of a Glove: The Musical,” the unauthorized theatrical musical fable about Michael Jackson’s iconic life, opened for its gala night performance in Los Angeles, Jan. 25. Theatrical fable, ‘For the Love of a
For the Love of a Glove: The Musical,” the unauthorized theatrical musical fable about Michael Jackson’s iconic life, opened for its gala night performance in Los Angeles, Jan. 25.
Theatrical fable, ‘For the Love of a Glove: The Musical,’ magnifies dark humor, idiosyncracy in Michael Jackson’s iconic life
By GERARD THOMAS and DENISE THOMAS
“For the Love of a Glove: The Musical,” the unauthorized theatrical fable about Michael Jackson’s iconic life – as told by his glove,” opened for its gala night performance at the Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan Theater at the Center in Los Angeles, Jan. 26.
Director and writer Julien Nitzberg, a native New Yorker, had an idea and researched it thoroughly. He decided to combine the Rated R version of Sesame Street, Avenue Q, with the racist religiosity of The Book of Mormon. To this, Nitzberg infused the stunning vocal performances of Suzanne Nichols, who plays Katherine Jackson; and Eric B. Anthony, who portrays Michael Jackson. Both headline a talented cast, to create a provocative entrée to the L.A. theatre scene.
The production takes the audience on a humorous trip into the life of the Jackson family. From their humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana in 1955 to the beginning of Jackson’s phenomenal superstardom in 1984.
His controversial life filled with sensitive issues such as child abuse, religious dogma, his questionable sexuality, racism, and his notoriously bizarre behavior which made him an enigma, is displayed and explained with dark humor, satire, and moments of absurdity that match the bafflement that most of us feel when we try to understand the megastar, who grandly and unquestionably garnered the title, King of Pop, without a murmur of protest.
The awesome task of taking on a life of such magnitude is approached with witty puppetry directed by Robin Walsh, brilliant writing, and an amazing ensemble cast. The musicality of the performers is met with catchy and memorable R&B tunes composed by Drew Ericson, Nicole Morier, and Max Townsley. This story is not politically correct and may not appeal to the older crowd, which at its core, contain raunchy sex scenes and coarse language, yet by the final act are readily cleaned up with a healthy dose of sanctification and righteousness.
The songs in this play depict the twisted and confused life of the outlier, a young boy forced into adulthood at an early age, who had to grope with the fickleness of stardom with none of the safeguards of religion. God is mentioned but His presence is not felt. This is a raw, unapologetic ala ( Mel Brooks) immensely funny view of his life, told from the perspective of his best friend – the iconic silver glove.
Ironically, the play’s structure mirrors Jackson’s life. The first half, with the exception of how the glove enters his life, is plausible and easy to understand. On the other hand the second half nose dives into bewildering events with equally bewildering explanations, such as Michael’s obsession with young boys, his chimpanzee Bubbles, and his addiction to sleeping pills.
Theater-goers will definitely have something to discuss afterwards as the play seeks to push the audience’s sensibilities to and fro – one moment enamored with Jackson, another perplexed by him. It truly reflects what fans felt about his intriguing life.
Freelance entertainment writers K. Gerard Thomas and Denise Thomas live and work in Los Angeles.