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Young Actors Portray Michael Jackson on Broadway

March 28, 2013

If making your Broadway debut at age 12 doesn't sound scary enough, imagine doing it in an iconic role. Now triple it.

That's what Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry are facing. They're taking turns portraying a preteen Michael Jackson, a young Motown founder Berry Gordy and an adolescent Stevie Wonder in "Motown: The Musical."

"It's a big step," acknowledges a soft-spoken Jibreel backstage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. "We went from local performances around town to Broadway."

The musical portrays Motown's first 25 years through the eyes of Gordy and is punctuated with a stunning collection of vintage hits and energetic dance numbers.

Jibreel, from Detroit, and Raymond, from Los Angeles, beat hundreds of hopefuls in a national search and now find themselves sharing a tiny dressing room in New York, juggling schoolwork and keeping up with last-minute changes to the show.

"I don't think either one of them had ever seen a Broadway show prior to this," says director Charles Randolph-Wright. "So to all of a sudden be starring in this show where you can't get a ticket, in a theater with 1,500 seats, it's quite a different thing from being in your high-school auditorium or the mall."

A recent visit backstage revealed two happy, polite and remarkably talented youngsters. The door of Room 14 has both an official sign with their names in typeset letters and a homemade one just below with the word "Motown" in bright colored-in letters and their signatures. Read More