Motown Records founder Berry Gordy has launched a nationwide talent search for a young actor to play Michael Jackson in the upcoming Broadway production “Motown: The Musical.” The winning actor will also play Stevie Wonder and Gordy himself in the upcoming role.
Eschewing normal casting routines, an audition website lists three songs (“I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There” and “Who’s Loving You”) that actors can record themselves performing and then upload to YouTube. The actor is wanted to be between eight and 11 years old.
“I’m not looking for imitators,” Gordy says in a video on the site. “What I’m looking for is people that are smart and can be themselves in the role. He was to be extremely talented, plus he has to give me the chills that I got when I saw Michael Jackson perform in the first place.”
“Motown: The Musical” is set to open in the spring of 2013 at a Nederlander theater that has yet to be announced. Naturally, the musical will feature music taken from the extensive Motown catalog. In addition to Jackson and Wonder, the production is expected to include hits from Diana Ross and the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
The production will be directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, and recounts Gordy’s time building the legendary Motown roster. Additionally, the chosen performer will play Gordy as a middle-class kid in Detroit in the 1930s.
Jackson was 10-years-old when Gordy first signed him to Motown in 1968, and Stevie Wonder (then known as Little Stevie Wonder) was 11 when he signed to the label in 1961. Jackson first became known for his high tenor singing voice amidst his brothers in the Jackson 5.
Producers for the show include Kevin McCollum, who is chairman of Sony Music Entertainment, and CEO Doug Morris.