Playwrite Julien Nitzberg quickly discovered that Michael Jackson's life was too preposterous and disturbing to encapsulate with a traditional biopic. He was trying to do it for a major TV network, but he and the network couldn't agree on how to tackle the subject of Jackson's child abuse allegations. Nitzberg eventually left the project with the nagging feeling this story still needed to be told. Without the constrictions of traditional TV weighing him down, he was able to unfurl his wings and let the Michael Jackson story be what it wanted to be, and that's as a musical from the perspective of MJ's famous sequined glove that, uh, will be produced by Johnny Depp.
While that sentence might sound a little too surreal to be believable, it doesn't become more milquetoast the more you explain it. Nitzberg was, by his own admission, feeling "morally kind of repugnant" about the handling of the subject matter. When the project fell apart, he decided to pursue the version that came about while joking with network execs: What if everything Michael Jackson had been accused of was actually the doing of his sequined glove (which is an alien that feeds on the blood of virgin boys)? If you're in Los Angeles this coming January, you'll be able to watch For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson, as told by his Glove, and as you do, bear in mind that this was the less repugnant of all the approaches to the subject matter.
Samir Hussein / Getty
Nitzberg's more blunt description gets a little sanitized in the show's official description, which claims the musical is a "look into the strange forces that shaped Michael and the scandals that bedeviled his reputation." That version sounds like the run-of-the-mill biopic he was tasked to write them in the first place, but conveniently leaves out the alien glove that preys on underaged boys. None of the articles reporting about this seem to clarify exactly what Nitzberg found so repugnant about the network's handling of the child abuse allegations, but "it was all the fault of an extraterrestrial garment" seems to suggest, um, let's say a certain point of view that you can only hope A) ends with the lesson that the fully grown adult is ultimately responsible for his own actions, and B) isn't a gimmicky sci-fi element concocted to deflect blame. Either way, make sure you attend the show while extremely high.
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com. Check out his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. And now you can listen to the first episode on Youtube!
For more, check out The Matrix Is Real, If You Are A Cow and Archaeologists Find Hardcore Infants Wearing Skull Helmets.
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