|Thriller – Live|
|Basis||The music of The Jackson 5 and |
|Productions||2007 United Kingdom |
2008 United Kingdom
2009 West End
2009 United Kingdom
2010 South Africa
2010 United Kingdom
2019 UK Tour
Thriller Live is a two-and-a-half-hour concert revue celebrating the music of The Jackson 5 and the solo work and life of Michael Jackson. It had already been performed in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia before opening at the Lyric Theatre, London, on 21 January 2009. The show was conceived by Jackson family friend and author Adrian Grant.
Adrian Grant started a British fan club in 1988, and then Jackson invited him out to Los Angeles when he was recording Dangerous . Within a few years the fan club had grown to 25,000 subscribed members. This led to an annual Michael Jackson tribute show in the United Kingdom from 1991; Jackson attended the tenth anniversary event. Each tribute show attracted anywhere from 1,000 to 3,000 people. Grant also wrote three books, including Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary which was approved by the singer. Jackson was never involved with the production of Thriller – Live, but he wished Grant luck with the production.
In August 2006, Thriller – Live was previewed in the United Kingdom, at the Dominion Theatre. The show was originally directed and choreographed by Kerys Nathan and with additional choreography by LaVelle Smith Jr..The following year, Grant, backed by Flying Music, began production for a UK Tour featuring the talents of Shaheen Jafargholi depicting the young Michael in the Jackson 5. The adult singers included Pop Idol star Zoe Birkett and Filipino-Australian vocalist Mig Ayesa. The show played a successful set of dates throughout May and June 2007, and later that year it toured in Europe.
Production for the West End version began in 2008, when open auditions were held to find a young actor to play Jackson. Ultimately six people would play the singer, going through the various stages of his career, with a total cast of 21 individuals, including Denise Pearson. Gary Lloyd directed and choreographed the show. The West End premiere was on 21 January 2009, at the Lyric Theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue. Tito Jackson other celebrities attended the premiere. La Toya Jackson attended the after show party.Thriller – Live was originally scheduled to run until 16 May 2009, but this date was extended several times following wide public interest, especially after Jackson's death on June 25, 2009. In September 2014, it became the 20th longest-running musical in West End. In October 2019 it was announced that the show would close in April 2020. The show closed prematurely on 15 March 2020 due to the theatre's closure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thriller – Live played in Singapore at the Marina Bay Sands, Grand Theater, in May 2011.
Karen Fricker of Variety expressed the opinion that the musical had "remarkably high production value" but was too long. Fricker continued, "Jackson's hits sung by four strong-voiced, charismatic leads, backed by a crackerjack team of singer-dancers—is effective and entertaining". [ sic ] by LED screens creating some wonderful theatrical set pieces that are simple and yet remarkably effective". Benedict Nightingale of The Times said of one performer, "What [he] lacks in physical similarity to Jackson he also lacks vocally. The coarse, sandy qualities of his voice are as suited to "Rock with You" as custard is on a steak".Sanjoy Roy of The Guardian observed, "It's cute, kicking and retro, but also highlights a danger that looms large in this show: that even as a tot, Jackson was supremely gifted performer—both as a singer and a dancer—and this tribute, however well intended, inevitably pales by comparison." Paul Vale of The Stage stated, "Those looking for history of Jackson's personal life should look elsewhere as this theatrical extravaganza is a breathtaking celebration of a musician whose work spans over three decades... Jonathan Park's set design and Nigel Catmur's lighting are complimented
Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph commented, "Gary Lloyd, who doubles as director and choreographer, keeps the energy level at fever pitch almost throughout, and his dance routines, featuring daring leaps from an on-stage bridge, break-dancing, and, yes, the moonwalk, are spectacular. There is also a terrific band, ranging with aplomb from funk, soul and disco, through candy-rush pop to guitar-led rock".Malcolm Jack of The Scotsman noted that, "Some of Jackson's best numbers - "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and "Beat It" - were treated rather underwhelmingly, but the faithful(ish) to the video centrepieces - "Smooth Criminal", "Billie Jean" and "Thriller" - were fairly spectacular".
Amber Windsor of This Is Local London said of her experience at one show, "The signature high-pitched yee hee' echoed from the foyer and it was endearing to see a young boy recreating Michael's signature moonwalk, proving Jackson's music still appeals to all ages...The stage was vibrantly brought to life by the dancers, easily the strongest element of Thriller Live. Their endless energy and clear passion for the music reflected Jackson's own style".Mel Bradley of Dinnington Guardian recalled his enthusiasm and enjoyment while observing the musical, despite not being an "ardent fan of the king of pop". Julie Carpenter of Daily Express stated, "...this is a hugely enjoyable, gloriously upbeat, high-energy show which leaves you chanting Annie, are you OK? Are you OK, Annie? as you slip out the door".
On June 21, 2010, six performers in the London cast released "Speechless" as a single, to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Jackson's death. All proceeds from the recording were donated to the charity War Child.
Performances in Brazil featured "Human Nature" after "I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
The international tour sometimes replaces "Human Nature" with "Never Can Say Goodbye".
Cast Changeover: 29 May 2018
Vocalist: Kieran Alleyne Vocalist: Charlotte Berry Vocalist: Wayne Anthony-Cole Vocalist: Vivienne Ekwulugo Vocalist: Haydon Eshun Vocalist: David Julien Vocalist: Jonah Mayor Vocalist: John Moabi Vocalist: Florivaldo Mossi Swing Dancer and Resident Director: Aisling Duffy Swing Dancer and Dance Captain: Ebony Clarke Swing Dancer: Vivian Gayle Swing Dancer: Simone Moncada Dancer and Vocalist Cover: David Devyne Dancer: Daniel Blessing Dancer: Filippo Coffano Dancer: Joel Ekperigin Dancer: Eliza Hart Dancer: Leona Lawrenson Dancer: Mari Macleod Dancer: Oskarina O’Sullivan Dancer: Zinzile Tshuma Dancer: Matt Vjestica Vocalist: Triple Calz Vocalist: Isaiah Mason Vocalist: Xhanti Mbonzongwana Vocalist: Christian Posso Vocalist: Jay-Jay Prince
"Billie Jean" is a song by American singer Michael Jackson, released by Epic Records on January 2, 1983, as the second single from Jackson's sixth studio album, Thriller (1982). It was written and composed by Jackson and produced by Jackson and Quincy Jones. "Billie Jean" blends post-disco, rhythm and blues, funk and dance-pop. The lyrics describe a woman, Billie Jean, who claims that the narrator is the father of her newborn son, which he denies. Jackson said the lyrics were based on groupies' claims about his older brothers when he toured with them as the Jackson 5.
Lashundra Trenyce Cobbins is an American singer and actress best known as a finalist on the second season of American Idol and for her work in musical theatre. Raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Trenyce won one of the categories of the NAACP ACT-SO as a teenager, and attended the University of Memphis on a music scholarship.
Robert Mills is an Australian actor, television host and singer-songwriter. He was one of the finalists from the first season of Australian Idol. He co-hosted the late-night quiz show The Mint, and was a regular singer on the game show The Singing Bee both on the Nine Network. Mills took part in the ninth season of Dancing with the Stars, and appeared on Celebrity Apprentice. In 2008, Mills won the lead male role of Fiyero in a production of Wicked, and continued the role when it moved around Australia. He has since starred in a number of popular large scale musical theatre productions. In 2012, Mills was announced as the host of Network Ten's revamped Young Talent Time. He played teacher Finn Kelly on Neighbours from 2017 until 2021.
The moonwalk or backslide is a dance move in which the performer glides backwards but their body actions suggest forward motion. The moonwalk is a popping move. It became popular around the world following Michael Jackson's moonwalk during the performance of "Billie Jean" on Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, which was broadcast on May 16, 1983, and he included it in tours and live performances. Jackson has been credited as renaming the "backslide" to the moonwalk and it became his signature move.
Denise Lisa Maria Pearson, sometimes credited as Deniece Pearson, is an English singer-songwriter. She was the lead vocalist with the British pop/R&B group Five Star, which comprised herself and her four siblings. The group was created and managed by their father, Buster Pearson, in 1983. The group officially disbanded in 2001, though partial reunions have occurred since.
Michael Jackson's Thriller is a 1983 music video for the song "Thriller" by American singer Michael Jackson, released on 2 December, 1983. The video was directed by John Landis and written by Landis and Jackson. It references numerous horror films, and stars Jackson dancing with a horde of zombies. Ola Ray co-stars as Jackson's girlfriend.
Zoe Birkett is an English singer. She was one of the youngest contestants on the first series of the ITV singing competition Pop Idol in 2001, being 16 at the time. She released a single, "Treat Me Like a Lady", in 2003, had a successful theatre career and was a contestant in Big Brother in 2014.
The Dangerous World Tour was the second world concert tour by American singer Michael Jackson to promote his eighth studio album Dangerous. The tour was sponsored by Pepsi-Cola. All profits were donated to various charities including Jackson's own "Heal the World Foundation". The tour ran from June 27, 1992, to November 11, 1993, playing 69 concerts to nearly 4 million people.
The Lyric Theatre is a West End theatre in Shaftesbury Avenue in the City of Westminster. It was built for the producer Henry Leslie, who financed it from the profits of the light opera hit, Dorothy, which he transferred from its original venue to open the new theatre on 17 December 1888.
Jeffrey Glenn Daniel is an American dancer, singer-songwriter and choreographer, most notable for being a founding member of the R&B vocal group Shalamar. In Nigeria he is best known as an Idol series judge.
Michael Joseph Jackson was an American singer, songwriter, and dancer. Dubbed the "King of Pop", he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century. Over a four-decade career, his contributions to music, dance and fashion, along with his publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture. Jackson influenced artists across many music genres, and through stage and video performances, popularized complicated dance moves such as the moonwalk, to which he gave the name, and the robot. He is the most awarded music artist in history.
Signature are English dance duo Suleman Mirza and Madhu Singh. Their style of dance is British Bhangra and they frequently base their performances around Michael Jackson songs, such as "Billie Jean" and "Thriller". They gained wide recognition during their performances in the second series of Britain's Got Talent, in which they were runners-up to the winner street dancer George Sampson.
Travis Payne is an American choreographer, director, and producer. He was the choreographer for Michael Jackson's This Is It until Jackson's death. Payne also served as the associate producer for This Is It, and along with the director, Kenny Ortega, was extensively and intimately involved in the making of the film. To date, This Is It worldwide gross revenue totaled $261.3 million during its theatrical run making it the highest grossing documentary or concert movie of all time.
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"Speechless" is a song by the American recording artist Michael Jackson, included on his tenth studio album, Invincible (2001). It was only released as a promotional single in South Korea. The singer was inspired to write the ballad after a water balloon fight with children in Germany. Jackson collaborated on the production with musicians such as Jeremy Lubbock, Brad Buxer, Novi Novoq, Stuart Bradley and Bruce Swedien. Andraé Crouch and his gospel choir provided backing vocals.
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Impersonators of American entertainer Michael Jackson work all over the world as entertainers, and such tribute acts remain in great demand due to the enduring, high popularity of Jackson.
The American singer Michael Jackson (1958–2009), nicknamed the “King of Pop", is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century and one of the most successful and influential entertainers. His achievements helped to complete the desegregation of popular music in the United States and introduced an era of multiculturalism and integration that future generations of artists followed. His influence extended to inspiring fashion trends and raising awareness for social causes around the world.