The Crusader Newspaper Group

‘Defacing Michael Jackson’ premieres racial conflict

Flying Elephant Productions is concluding its inaugural season with the Chicago premiere of “Defacing Michael Jackson,” Aurin Squire’s racially-charged comedy about adolescence, sexual discovery and the conflict between community and culture. Directed by Alexis J. Roston, “Defacing Michael Jackson” will play July 27 – August 12, 2018 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont in Chicago.

DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON features Samuel Martin, JoJo Pender, Eldridge Shannon III and Chris Taylor.

Set among the swamps and canals of rural Florida, a motley group of African-American teen-agers create their own Michael Jackson fan club in 1984. But when a white boy moves to the neighborhood and tries to join the club, all the rules of the community are challenged and changed. DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON is a satire about the do’s and don’ts of Blackness, hero worship and American identity.

Comments Director Alexis J. Roston, “The title alone had me at ‘hello,’ however from the very first page of Spire’s script, I found myself caught up in a world that I was already familiar with – ‘metal jacks and Thundercats’… ‘GI Joes and Cabbage Patch.’ Though set circa 1984, this story is universal and will still strike a chord in the present day. It explores interracial conflicts, as well as intra-racial ones through the lens of five adolescents varying in race, gender and mental stability. My hope for this production is to evoke a sense of community, to take each audience member by the hand and say, ‘Here is a glimpse into where I come from. Can we talk now?’ Because this play has the power to do that. It can open closed doors of dialogue and uncover areas of confusion that have been left unchartered. And on top of all that, it’s pretty darn funny!”

The production team for DEFACING MICHAEL JACKSON includes Nicholas Schwartz (scenic design), Jessica Gowens (costume design), Becs Bartle (lighting design) and Jordan Affeldt (stage manager). Tickets are currently available at, by calling (773) 327-5252 or in person at the Stage 773 box office.

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