The Michael Jackson estate, co-producers of the upcoming Broadway jukebox musical MJ The Musical, will donate $100,000 to the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund established yesterday, the Estate said today.
The donation is one-third of the $300,000 donation the Estate announced today, with the other recipients being MusiCares and the Las Vegas-based food bank Three Square.
In a statement, the Estate’s co-executors John Branca and John McClain said, “This virus strikes at the heart of the communities we are close to. We learned today that the legendary Manu Dibango passed away from the virus. Other performers and support staff in music and on Broadway are sick or have been left without work and are facing an uncertain future. And in Las Vegas, which has been so welcoming to Michael Jackson, the entire city has been shut down leaving thousands of workers and their families devastated and without an income.”
Dibango, who died yesterday of complications from COVID-19, was the saxophonist and songwriter whose 1972 hit “Soul Makossa” was adapted in 1982 by Jackson for his own hit “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”
MJ The Musical, with Jackson’s songs and a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, is set to begin previews at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre on Tuesday, July 6, with an opening night on Thursday, August 13. However, Broadway’s schedule has been uncertain since the industry shutdown on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Vegas, the Cirque du Soleil show Michael Jackson ONE also has been suspended.
Broadway’s COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund, administered by The Actors Fund, was announced yesterday, with more than 20 producers pledging to match contributions up to $1 million. Fund organizers have set a $2 million goal by April 12.