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Being Michael Jackson

Jibreel Mawry, left, and Raymond Luke Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Kennedy

If making your Broadway debut at age 12 doesn't sound scary enough, imagine doing it in an iconic role. Now triple it.

That's what Raymond Luke Jr. and Jibreel Mawry are facing. They're taking turns portraying a preteen Michael Jackson, a young Motown founder Berry Gordy and an adolescent Stevie Wonder in Motown: The Musical.

"It's a big step," acknowledges a soft-spoken Jibreel backstage at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. "We went from local performances around town to Broadway."

The musical portrays Motown's first 25 years through the eyes of Gordy and is punctuated with a stunning collection of vintage hits and energetic dance numbers.

Jibreel, from Detroit, and Raymond, from Los Angeles, beat hundreds of hopefuls in a national search and now find themselves sharing a tiny dressing room in New York, juggling schoolwork and keeping up with last-minute changes to the show.

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