From Young Simba to Little Michael Jackson, Broadway’s doors open for 12-year-old Delawarean

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Twelve-year-old Jackson Hayes stepped in front of the bright lights of Broadway on Dec. 1, where he was cast in the role of young Michael Jackson in “MJ: The Musical.”

His passion for the arts and success at an early age is a credit to the significant influence of his mother.

Mother Lori Hayes, a high school English teacher, directed her son as a Munchkin in a local production of “The Wiz.” She said that’s when he got “bit by that bug,”’ setting the stage for his passion in the world of performing arts.

Before securing a role as young Michael Jackson, Hayes was first cast as Simba in the touring company of “The Lion King.”

Jackson Hayes playing Young Simba on the national tour of ”The Lion King.” (Courtesy of Matthew Murphy)

“Our family is just musically gifted. His brother is in a show at his school. So he’s gone to see his brother perform,” she said. “Ironically enough, one of my cousins was cast on the Lion King tour while we were there [trying out]. She got put on after he already got put on, so we had two family members touring with the national Lion King.”

  • February 8, 2024
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