For the Love of a Glove
It was alleged to be a run-of-the-mill TV biopic — at the very least that is what a cable TV community was on the lookout for after they requested author and director Julien Nitzberg for a film about Michael Jackson. This was 15 years in the past — earlier than the King of Pop’s dying, however after his 2005 baby molestation trial led to an acquittal.
“I did not understand how you would make a sympathetic character with all of the weird issues he does,” says Nitzberg. “Together with sleepovers with children. And I stated to the community, ‘How are we going to handle it?’ they usually actually did not know the way to.”
He got here up with a much less simple method of telling the story: “All probably the most weird components of Jackson’s life are triggered as a result of an alien got here to Earth, and trades giving him expertise in change for feeding on his blood.”
For the Love of a Glove
The community wasn’t . However the thought has now come to life as an “unauthorized” musical referred to as For the Love of a Glove. It imagines an alternate historical past the place Michael Jackson (performed by Eric B. Anthony) meets a glittery silver glove from outer house named Thrihil-Lha (performed by Jerry Minor). Who, sure, provides Michael his skills in change for blood — particularly virgin blood.
What follows subsequent is a raunchy, surreal and absurd run by way of documented moments of Jackson’s historical past. The primary act focuses on younger Michael, simply getting began with the Jackson 5, and it digs into the abusive household dynamics. The white competitors ripping them off. The powers controlling him.
Denise Thomas noticed the play and wrote about it for the Compton Herald. She grew up a fan of Michael Jackson. “I am residing in that world at the moment and I did not even understand what was occurring,” she says.
The musical goes into the racism Jackson confronted. White acts stealing their shtick. Motown data founder Berry Gordy molding Jackson, controlling the whole lot the general public knew about him, from his age to his political opinions. “Julien [Nitzberg] does an incredible job of bringing these issues to the forefront. That’s when Michael — to me — grew to become a hero,” says Thomas.
In these youthful years, Michael, the opposite members of the Jackson 5, and the opposite youngsters concerned are performed by puppets connected to the our bodies of their grownup actors. Nitzberg says the puppets had been one other method of speaking the absurdity of the entire scenario. “Puppets have all the time served as this operate for you to have the ability to make enjoyable of energy,” he says. “To have a special perspective on issues, to instantly launch you from actuality, and likewise allowed us to touch upon the best way the Jackson 5 had been handled as artists.”
For the Love of a Glove
For Tony Jones, a producer on For the Love of a Glove, these had been lived experiences. He was a supervisor for the Jackson 5 after they had been on Gordy’s Motown file label. Jones noticed the corroding household unit, the rivalry with the white pop-star household The Osmonds, the influences of Michael’s non secular teachings (one of many songs sung within the play by non secular Jackson household matriarch Katherine Jackson is known as, merely, “Do not Masturbate”). And he says the absurd and ridiculous nature of For the Love of a Glove has a method of attending to the reality.
“After I first learn the script, it was a bear to wrap your arms round and simply mentally get with it,” says Jones. “As a result of whenever you learn a few of the lyrics that could possibly be slightly off-putting — to not point out potty mouthed — and in the event you learn a few of the sexual innuendos which can be in there, it must be stated if you are going to get to the essence of who Michael was.”
The Michael of For the Love of a Glove is lonely and remoted. Actor Eric B. Anthony says he bought some warmth for even taking the function within the first place.
“Like, ‘How dare you drag his legacy and reminiscence by way of the mud,'” he says. “‘You are a black man and also you’re disrespecting a black icon.’ And I am like, to start with, you have not learn the script and we have not even carried out the present so how are you aware what I am doing with the present. Secondly, I am actually excited as a result of none of that’s occurring within the present.”
Whereas For the Love of a Glove is not a hagiographic jukebox musical, it additionally is not interested by tearing Micheal Jackson down fully. “He is the King of Pop,” says Nitzberg. “And theater often offers with flawed kings, flawed gods, and so forth.”
Because the play strikes into its second act, it offers with Michael as an grownup — simply after the recording of the hit album Thriller. It is right here the place author Denise Thomas says For the Love of a Glove fell brief and will’ve carried out extra to interrogate Jackson’s legacy. Possibly by the use of asking us to assume extra about the true Michael Jackson’s alleged victims. On the finish, she was nonetheless left questioning. “How ought to we actually really feel about Michael, now that we all know how the story ends?” she asks.
However For the Love of a Glove is not a play about solutions. It is about questioning legacies — and the legacies of kings are by no means actually settled.
Nina Gregory edited this story.