Roman Banks Lands Title Role in National Tour of MJ the Musical | Playbill

National Tour News Roman Banks Lands Title Role in National Tour of MJ the Musical

The tour of the Broadway hit will launch in August at Broadway in Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre.

Roman Banks Matthew Murphy

Roman Banks, the first BIPOC actor to play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen, will play Michael Jackson in the first national tour of MJ the Musical, launching August 1-September 2 at Broadway in Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre.

Banks, who played Howie in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, was also seen in TikTok's first-ever commissioned livestream musical, For You, Paige.

Director Christopher Wheeldon says, “I am extremely excited that the incredibly talented Roman Banks will soon be dazzling audiences across America as Michael Jackson in MJ. Roman is a stunning performer, and we are lucky to have him leading the company on our first national tour.” 

The tour will officially open in Chicago August 9. Additional casting will be announced. For tickets and the current tour schedule, visit

MJ began previews December 6, 2021, at the Neil Simon prior to an official opening February 1, 2022. Detroit native Elijah Rhea Johnson stepped into the leading role of Michael Jackson April 4, succeeding Myles Frost, who won a Tony for his performance.

The musical features a book by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and a score made up of some of the most popular songs in recording history. Tony Award winner Wheeldon directs and choreographs.

MJ also has sets by Derek McLane, lighting by Natasha Katz, costumes by Paul Tazewell, sound design by Gareth Owen, projection design by Peter Nigrini, hair and wig design by Charles LaPointe, music direction by Jason Michael Webb, musical supervision by David Holcenberg, and orchestrations by Holcenberg and Webb. Casting is by Rachel Hoffman of The Telsey Office.

The show took home four Tony Awards in total, including Best Choreography, Best Lighting Design in a Musical, and Best Sound Design in a Musical.

MJ is produced on Broadway and tour by Lia Vollack, John Branca, and John McClain.

Read more about the hit musical in the Playbill Vault.

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