A new play opening in L.A. next month is raising eyebrows. For the Love of a Glove: An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the Life of Michael Jackson, As Told By His Glove, the verbose full title of the show, poses a question that, heretofore, you had probably never asked yourself: What if Michael Jackson wasn’t a disturbed person who, allegedly, committed horrible acts of sexual abuse on multiple children, but, instead, was an innocent human under the control of a gang of space aliens that take the form of sparkly gloves and feed on virgin blood? Naturally, it is a musical.
According to W, the idea for the play occurred to writer Julien Nitzberg 17 years ago. Nitzberg had been in talks to write a made-for-TV biopic on Michael Jackson. In the course of that project, he and the network reached an impasse over how to address the accusations of misconduct swirling around Jackson even then.
“The question came up [about] how to deal with the child-abuse allegations,” Nitzberg reportedly said. “I said, how’s this? Everything MJ has been accused of has actually been caused by his glove, which is actually an alien from outer space [and] feeds on virgin boy blood. They laughed and said, ‘Can you do the normal version?’” Ultimately, Nitzberg left the project entirely.
More recently, Nitzberg was working on a film about offbeat ukulele star Tiny Tim, which found him hooked up with Jonny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil. Rolling Stone reports that project also fell through, but it gave Nitzberg the in to pitch Depp’s team on his MJ concept, which he’d expanded to an entire puppet show musical concept. (Multiple publications reported that Depp was personally connected to the show; Depp now appears to be attempting to distance himself from For the Love, asserting the production company acted in this case without his direct involvement.)
Now set to open at the Center for Inquiry in January (tickets are $100), For the Love of a Glove stars Eric B. Anthony as Jackson and Jerry Minor as the glove. The actors will control marionettes on stage. Other characters in the story include Jackson’s siblings, Emmanuel Lewis, Bubbles the Chimp, and actor Corey Feldman, who posted a tweet indicating his displeasure with the entire thing.
DEPP-SPRATE MOVES: WTF DID I JUST READ?!? IS THIS REALLY A THING? AND WTF IS WRONG W DEPP THAT HE WOULD WANT 2 PRODUCE THIS?? TONE DEAF & TASTELESS? THIS 1 TAKES THE CAKE! ID NORMALLY KEEP MY OPINIONS 2 MYSELF BUT WHEN MY NAMES AN INGREDIENT, I GOTTA CHEW! https://t.co/B0n2IHrUzy
— Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) November 30, 2019
What would motivate anyone to create a show that seems to make light of the very serious accusations against Jackson, many of which are fresh in the public’s mind from the recent documentary Leaving Neverland? Why create any work that would, even in a satirical or fictional way, appear to divert the blame away from Jackson the person and onto something as ridiculous as a space alien glove?
In a conversation with the Hollywood Reporter, Nitzberg says it’s an attempt to heal the trauma–of the Michael Jackson fans who have had to reckon with the allegations.
“I think there’s a collective trauma of everyone who grew up as a Jackson 5 fan and a Michael fan,” he told the magazine. “This is a way to process that in a fun way while helping people understand all of the really fucked up stuff that affected Michael’s life.”
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