You are on page 1of 3

Unlimited access to all digital products - Only $1.

85 per w eek for the first 6 months
CURRENT WEA THER 42° / P /SUNNY » More we a the r » C ITY HALL C AM

Today is March 31, 2013

Search past 30 days (free)
Opinion Sports Business Living Our Sites C lassifieds Advertise Reader Services | Login / Register

Site search

Home

News

Obituaries

Like

0

0

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2 guys have a ball as Jackson on Broadway
‘Motown: The Musical’
THEATER

Actors Jibreel Mawry, left, and Raymond Luke Jr. pose outside the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre in New York, where their show “Motown: The Musical,” is playing. The 12-year-olds are alternating taking on the roles of young Michael Jackson, young Stevie Wonder and a young Berry Gordy. (THE ASSOC IATED PRESS)

CHEMICA L OPERA TOR O MNO VA Solutions, Fitchburg, MA fa cility is se e k ing a ... IT SENIO R P R O GR AMMER ANALYST The Se nior P rogra m m e r Ana lyst will pla y a ... More great jobs at telegram.com/monster Employers A dvertise Here

By Mark Kennedy THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Add a comment

NEW YORK — 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 RandolphWright. “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. Just as a visitor knocked, the sound of the boys singing was heard. They weren’t belting out Katy Perry or Kanye West. It was a pretty great version of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray.” “We have a lot of fun in here,” says Raymond. Of the three roles they play, Michael Jackson is the toughest, requiring the most singing and dancing, including several classic Jackson Five hits like “I Want You Back” and “The Love You Save.” They’ve studied footage of Jackson as well as his influences, including Jackie Wilson and James Brown. “Michael is someone who felt the music. He WAS the music,” says Raymond. Jibreel was introduced to Jackson’s music at age 5 by his mother and has made several appearances mimicking the King of Pop. He helped teach Raymond the finer points, including to keep smiling and to keep moving. “I wasn’t comfortable with smiling. I was the kind of singer that just stands still,” says Raymond. Of his co-star, he adds admiringly: “When he’s Michael, he’s like a whole other Michael. He’s like Michael Jr.” Jibreel, whose YouTube handle is JuniorMJ1000, auditioned by sending in a video but, just to be sure, his family drove him to New York to audition in person as well. He was called back to join a workshop and then finally this winter got word he had landed the Broadway gig. “I didn’t believe it when my mom told me,” he says. Raymond, who led his church choir at 8, auditioned on camera in Los Angeles, singing “I Want You Back,” “Loving You” and “I’ll Be There.” He was invited to New York to show off his stuff and was then offered the job just before Christmas break. His mom got the call. “I just remember her crying, ‘You made it! You made it!’ ” he recalls. “I’ve been singing since I was 3, so it’s kind of amazing for me to actually be here. C’mon? New York? Broadway? That’s amazing.” Randolph-Wright helped cast the show and sifted through audition videos as well as visiting Detroit, Atlanta and Los Angeles to see candidates up close. He says he knew he had found gold as soon as Jibreel and Raymond walked in. “It’s daunting to have to play any one of those three characters. To have to do all three of them is, of course, insane,” he says. “It’s thrilling to see them grow and change and discover what it means to be on Broadway.”
Add a comment

"Like" the Telegram on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

More from telegram.com
Man stabs woman 54 times, drops TV on her head Child support warrant stayed for Powerball winner NH 'Fugitive of Week' caught at Kelley Square in Worcester Suspects in Worcester reportedly tried to flush drugs, toss money Driver in Worcester crash cited for texting

From Around the Web
5 Facebook Marketing Tips Y ou Can't Afford to Overlook (SumAll) What’s the Big Deal Behind Big Data (Engineered to Innovate) How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Producing (The Entrepreneur Success Institute) 4 Signs Y ou Need a Break From Caregiving (iTriage) The Secret of the Wonder Weapon That Israel Will Show Off to Obama (TIME)
Rec ommended by

Articles Most Commented On Today 1. Decisive moment on gay marriage 2. Pow erful rifle easily available 3. Pope Francis w ashing of girls feet devastates traditionalists 4. Durant files bill to cap public school budget increases 5. Do you know w here this is? 6. LETTER: Get tough against crime, not guns 7. Gardner firefighters again being sent on medical calls 8. Former evangelist-turnedatheist to speak April 9 at UU Church 9. W achusett school committee pressed to support third supt. finalist 10. Man stabbed on bus en route to Boston

Articles Most Read Today 1. Steve Alford named new UCLA basketball coach 2. Illinois casino city w eighs in on w ould-be slots developer 3. Former Auburn w oman w ins $100K w edding 4. Brew -W oo show s another year of grow th at DCU 5. Do you know w here this is? 6. Families maintain voke enrollment discouraged 7. QCC student, a veteran, w ins $2,500 a w eek for life 8. Up in (medicinal) smoke 9. Reliant splitting w ith Fallon Senior Plan 10. Edw in Rodriguez advances to final

Articles Most Emailed Today 1. Durant files bill to cap public school budget increases 2. Pope Francis' w ashing of girls' feet devastates traditionalists 3. Tipping furniture sometimes turns deadly 4. Leap from faith into atheism 5. Medical marijuana rules proposed 6. Clinton neighbors speculate on missing body as police search island 7. Cancer is cruel, leaves us helpless 8. Call it anything but the P-w ord 9. Brew -W oo show s another year of grow th at DCU 10. Up in (medicinal) smoke

NEWS telegram.com Local News World & Regional News C olumnists Health & Fitness Deaths Multimedia The Day in Pictures C ourt records Watchdog Past headlines C orrections Weather Mobile SPORTS Sports section Area results Sports columnists Hometeam

LIVING Living section Movie reviews & showtimes DVD releases TV listings Dining Guide Ten Things to Do C omics Sudoku C rossword Parade Games Lottery Entertainment Events calendar BUSINESS Business section On the job Business @ Noon C onsumer News

OPINION Opinion section C olumnists Letters to the Editor Blogs As I See It Article comments PUBLICATIONS The Banner TelegramTowns Hometeam The Item Worcester Living WEBSITES Gone But Not Forgotten MassMoms.com TelegramTowns Pets Worcester Living

NEWSLETTERS/FEEDS Reader Recap Breaking News Alert Keyword Search News Headline News Business @ Noon RSS feeds Mobile Phone Alerts The Weekend Starts NOW DELIVERY Place a new subscription Renew a subscription Vacation stops Billing changes Address changes Home delivery help Telegram & Gazette Vacation Locations (PDF) FAQ

CELEBRATIONS Weddings Engagements Birthdays Anniversaries Other Order forms CLASSIFIEDS Legal Notices Real Estate Marketplace Video Marketplace Jobs C ars Pets Place An Ad

FOLLOW US Facebook Twitter RSS Email alerts © 2013 Worcester Telegram & Gazette C orp. Privacy Policy Submissions Policy Subscription Services Reprints & licensing T&G Rewards C ontact us Work here Advertise with us About our ads Site Map