Willesden schooboy to play Michael Jackson in West End musical

Emmanuel Sakyi

Emmanuel Sakyi - Credit: Archant

Emmanuel Sakyi will portray the King of Pop in his earlier years

A talented youngster from Willesden is celebrating after landing the role of a young Michael Jackson in a hit West End musical.

Emmanuel Sakyi, is one of four graduates from a prestigious academy aimed specifically at finding singers and dancers to perform in Thriller Live.

The musical, which is based on the songs by the King of Pop, will see Emmanuel portray Jackson during his early years and his time with the Jackson 5.

Emmanuel, who lives in Church Road and is a pupil at Ark Academy in Bridge Road, Wembley will entertain sell out crowds with much loved hits including I Want You Back and I’ll Be There.


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Speaking to the Times, the nine-year-old’s mother Alison said she was “immensely proud.”

She said: “It’s all natural talent, before the academy he had never had singing or dancing lessons.

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“He was always singing Michael Jackson songs on holiday and it’s always been a dream of his to perform his work.”

Producers for the show require around six boys at a time and have a high turnover because of singers’ voices breaking.

In November, they launched the Young Michael Jackson Academy to train young boys in a bid to find the next star.

Boys attend singing and dancing classes and after a three-month training period, hopefuls take part in an audition in front of the show’s creative team.

Debbie O’Brien, the musical’s casting director said: “We are looking for boys who are exciting, confident and energetic. “They have to be of black or dual heritage, aged nine to 13 with an excellent unbroken pop/rock voice with a high range.”

Emmanuel hailed his outgoing head teacher Jacqueline Steele as an inspiration, told the Times he was shocked when he found out he had been chosen.

He said: “I’m really excited it’s like a dream come true. Michael Jackson is one of my favourite artists he’s got a lovely voice and a great dancer.”

Emmanuel will be seen in the West End production from early next month.

Producers are also now looking for candidates for the next term at the MJ Academy.

To apply contact Debbie O’Brien on info@debbieobrien.net or phone 01462 742919.

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