Does either of you believe that Michael Jackson was a child molester?
WHEELDON It’s a very difficult question to answer, especially in the position that we are, making this musical right now. The recent documentary is very believable, but our position in making this show is that we’re trying to make a show that’s balanced. So I don’t know that I have a definitive answer for you. Those are questions that we’re asking in our process.
NOTTAGE It’s really hard to traffic in absolutes. Do I believe he was a pedophile? I don’t know that I can say one way or the other. I don’t think any of us can say with absolute certainty, because we’ve been presented with some information, but Michael Jackson is dead, he’s not in a position to defend himself. It does hurt my heart to think about the possibility that it could be true, and I pray that it isn’t true, and that’s all I can do. I’m not going to be a Michael apologist, but I can’t say 100 percent.
You were quoted saying you believed the men who accused him.
NOTTAGE What I was saying, and what I was getting at, is that the men came across as very believable. But here’s the caveat: Were they ultimately telling the truth? I cannot 100 percent say so, because I’m not judge and jury, and it’s not my place to do that.
WHEELDON You can’t watch the documentary without being profoundly disturbed by it, but again, we’re not judge and jury. In our process, we’re facing it pretty much head on, but we’re also studying the many facets of Michael Jackson.
NOTTAGE We’re not journalists. Folks have to remember we’re theater artists that are examining the life of this very complicated artist. We can ask certain questions, but our job is not to answer those questions. My job is to reflect and interrogate and present.
WHEELDON And paint a balanced picture. Yes, lean into the complexities, lean into the darkness, but also recognize the great amount of music and film and choreography that Michael left behind.