Get ready, ‘cause here they come! Broadway.com is taking a deep dive into some of the musical icons who grace the stage in Motown: The Musical, which charts the life of Motown mogul Berry Gordy. Our Legends of Motown series continues with Jibreel Mawry, whose smooth moves and even smoother voice bring Michael Jackson back to life on the stage. Jackson’s legacy is one of the greatest in music history, and Motown flashes all the way back to the beginning with his breakout in the Jackson Five.
Name: Jibreel Mawry
Age & Hometown: 12; Detroit, MI
Role: Young Michael Jackson/Berry Gordy/Stevie Wonder
First/fondest memory of your icon: One of my first memories of Michael Jackson was the video for “Thriller.” I used to run to my room as soon as I heard the door creaking...but then I’d talk myself into going back and not being scared. It was the most thrilling music video I've ever watched. When I was eight, I started singing “ABC," “Stop the Love You Save," and "Ain't No Sunshine." My fondest memory was a dream I had: Michael was sitting on top of a car in a parking lot in a place that looked like the video when he was doing the panther dance. Michael looked sad, so I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Nobody wants to be with me." I said, “You have to make a comeback!” I said it three times and then we started hearing his song "Childhood" in the background, and we rocked back and forth to it.
Favorite song sung by your icon: “Dancing Machine”
What does it mean to you to be playing your icon? I can't find the words to express how much it means to me. I’m so deeply honored to play this role. (Thank you Mr. Berry Gordy and Charles Randolph for giving me this opportunity.) I was born to play this role. I've been singing, dancing, and sometimes even dressing like Michael Jackson since I was eight years old. A lot of people told me to do other things besides Michael Jackson, so I started singing Bruno Mars, Usher, Justin Bieber, etc., but I was always drawn back to Michael. I feel very connected to him not only because he's the greatest entertainer in the world, but also because he had a beautiful spirit and he wanted more than anything to help heal the world.
Most surprising fact you learned about your icon: I was surprised to find out that Michael Jackson was a very shy person.
Hardest thing about playing your icon: Singing "I'll Be There" without shedding tears on stage.
Easiest thing about playing your icon: The dancing.
Which of your icon’s songs do you sing in the show? "I Want You Back," "ABC," "Stop the Love You Save," "Who’s Loving You" and "I’ll Be There."
If you could meet your icon, what would you say to him? I would say, "You made a difference in the world. I love you forever. The world loves you more than you know and misses you more than it can bear."
One word to describe your icon: Caring.
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