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Austin Rankin and Eric Williams named new cast members of Broadway’s ‘MJ’

The long-running musical continues at the Neil Simon Theatre.

(L-R) Austin Rankin and Eric Williams (Credit: Emilio Madrid)

“MJ” has announced new casting for the role of Little Michael. Austin Rankin joined the long-running musical on June 18, replacing Max Chambers, who played his final performance in the role on June 16. Eric Williams will join the company on July 16, taking over for Jackson Hayes, who will depart the production on July 14. The duo will alternate in the role at the Neil Simon Theatre.

This marks the Main Stem debut of Rankin, who previously appeared in the national youth theater program Broadway in the H.O.O.D in his native Las Vegas.

Williams will also make his Broadway debut in “MJ.” The native of Decatur, Georgia, has appeared in theater productions at the Stepp Stewart Talent Camp Spotlight Program.

Christopher Wheeldon directs and choreographs the bio-musical which follows the career of Michael Jackson leading up to his 1992 “Dangerous” world tour. “MJ” opened on Feb. 1, 2022, and was nominated for 10 Tony Awards, winning four, including one for Wheeldon’s choreography. The production, which features a book by Lynn Nottage, recouped its $22.5 million investment in 2023.

The current principal cast of “MJ” includes Elijah Rhea Johnspon as MJ, Apollo Levine as Joseph Jackson/Rob, Whitney Bashor as Rachel, Tavon Olds-Sample as Michael, Jace Bently as Little Marlon and Ayana Jackson as Katherine Jackson. Casting is by the Telsey Office and Rachel Hoffman.

“MJ” is produced by Lia Vollack, John Branca and John McClain.