FOR THE LOVE OF A GLOVE, an Invasion of the Jacko-Snatchers Musical

By Ernest Kearney — In 1998 the headline of The National Enquirer bellowed to the gullible: “Titanic Survivor Found on Iceberg! She Still Thinks its 1912!” Here was the inspiration for Jeffrey Hatcher’s Scotland Road.

In June of 1992 The Weekly World News stunned its readers with their exclusive report: “Bat Child Found in Cave!” accompanied by a front page photo of the shirking monstrosity discovered in the depths of a West Virginian cavern by weekend Presbyterian spelunkers.

Five years later Keythe Farley, Brian Flemming and Laurence O’Keefe’s Bat Boy: The Musical opened at Los Angeles’ Actor’s Gang Theater.

Like these two theatrical ventures, writer-director Julien Nitzberg’s For the Love of a Glove certainly feels like it’s been plucked off a headline of the tabloid press.

The narrative: In the mid-60s a flying saucer entering earth’s atmosphere crashes into a lake outside Gary, Indiana. Two young boys from one of Gary’s few black families, Jermaine (Trècey Dory) and his little brother Michael (Eric B. Anthony) witnessing this plunge into the waters, save the five extraterrestrials from their sinking space craft.

These otherworldly, diminutive, glove-shaped creatures, who communicate via a harmonic language, conceal from their saviors that they have come to this planet bent on conquering humanity.

The two unsuspecting brothers bring the aliens home where Joe, (Pip Lilly) their abusive, failed musician father, their religion obsessed mother, Katherine (Suzanne Nichols), and three other siblings view the space visitors with suspicion. Only the young Michael, a lonely, isolated child, finds a friend in the alien Thribl-Lha (Patrick Batiste.)

Soon two discoveries are made:

1) The murderous miffs are vampires from outer space who feast on the blood of virgin boys!

2) When attached to a lad that youngster is enabled to sing with their otherworldly talent.

Seeing the possibilities of this, the tyrannical Joe forces Michael and his other sons to don the space creatures like gloves and so unleash on the world – THE JACKSON FIVE!

(Did you see that coming?)

Composers Nicole Morier, Drew Erickson and Max Townsley provide the toe-tapping and rib-tickling tunes; Cris Judd the choreography; and Robin Walsh a plethora of puppets aided by Betsy Zajko, Ronald Binion and Craig Gibson; Andrea Keller contributed the colorful, whimsical set and Ann Closs-Farley the costumes that allows for Nitzberg and cast to go to town with and on.

And go to town they do, like a seven-day European tour covering 31 cities.

Nitzberg’s play prances and bounces joyfully from inane farce to TMZ exposé, from Jackson bio over to Motown history with the agility of a gazelle on meth. Greasing the wheels of this wild ride Nitzberg (with Walsh) skillfully incorporates a variety of puppeteering techniques from semi-Bunraku style for the young Jacksons, Brazilian mamulengo stick puppets for quick segues, Julie Taymor style body puppets for the critters of Neverland’s menagerie and articulated rod and hand puppets for the tuneful aliens out to terrorize humanity.

Along the way you have twenty pithy and playful songs, celebrating the history of the KKK in Indiana, warning about the scourge of onanism, and reflecting on Peter Panism.

This is, to be honest, a cluttered, chaotic show stuffed with over the top theatrics, a dozen cast members performing three times that number of characters plus a score of musical numbers. Generally this kind of artistic avalanche buries any show beneath its amassed ambitions.

The fact that For the Love of a Glove doesn’t fall victim to this fate is a testament to the guidance of the producers (of whom there are five credited in the program) and the talent of the cast.

Andrew Ableson, Austin Walker, Terra Strong, Sasha Urban and the aforementioned Patrick Batiste stand out as the most entertaining aliens since Mork; with Urban’s reappearance as Brooke Shields nearly breaking the “Laff-O’Meter.” Meanwhile Lilly and Nichols are the perfect parents from hell.

But kudos must go to Eric B. Anthony. To undertake the role of one of the 20th century’s most iconic personalities bespeaks a chutzpa verging on the suicidal. However Anthony succeeds in pulling it off with panache to spare.

Make no mistake about it, Nitzberg’s For the Love of a Glove is a rough, rambunctious, rollicking and a tad racy evening; a three-ring circus squished onto a single stage. But if madcap musical silliness is your cup of tea – pinkies up! And prepare for a deluge.

(NOTE: Featured in Image – Eric B. Anthony plays Michael Jackson in FOR THE LOVE OF A GLOVE. / photo by Julien Nitzberg)

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For the Love of a Glove:
An Unauthorized Musical Fable About the
Life of Michael Jackson as Told by His Glove

Currently running through
April 01, 2023
Carl Sagan-Ann Druyan Theater
at the
Center For Inquiry West (CFI)
2535 W. Temple Street
Los Angeles, CA

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For Tickets and Information

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Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at and Follow him on Facebook.

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