A week after composer Andrew Lloyd Webber reported that Michael Jackson approached him about starring in the film version of The Phantom of the Opera (See The Goss, 29 June 2009) comes another theatre-related revelation about the late King of Pop, who died last month. In an article in yesterday’s Sunday Times, director Trevor Nunn recalled how the man who owned his own Neverland approached him about playing the boy who lived there and, notably, “never grew up”.

In 1987, Jackson, seeking advice about the staging of his live concert tours, arranged a meeting with Nunn in Sydney, where the director was working on a production of Les Miserables. Upon discovering that Nunn had recently helmed a production of JM Barrie classic Peter Pan, the singer implored: “Could I play Peter, is it too late? Will you let me play Peter? All I ever want to do is play Peter Pan.”

Nunn attended a Jackson concert and discussed the logistics for enabling Jackson to fly across the stage as Peter Pan had in Nunn’s production of the play. But it soon became clear that the Jackson camp was none too pleased with the singer getting caught up in childish fantasies. “However many times I called,” wrote Nunn, “I never got through to Michael again and I couldn’t entirely rid myself of the idea that people in the organisation were under instruction, very politely, to keep me away.”