Thriller Live is a product of the fan culture is what has encouraged the world to remember Michael Jackson for his extraordinary talent and the message he tried to convey.
Playing at the Festival Theatre over New Year, the concert is a celebration of the music and live performances of Jackson’s 45-year career, from his early years with the Jackson Five through the development of his solo career.
It was created by a British Michael Jackson fan, Adrian Grant, for Michael Jackson fans.
Grant was so fond of Jackson that he started the fanzine Off the Wall in 1988 and that same enthusiasm led him to create the annual Michael Jackson Tribute Show, presented in the UK from 1991, which culminated in the first concert presentation of Thriller Live in 2006. Thriller Live has since played more than 3000 shows in 28 countries.
Even the cast is made up of Michael Jackson fans. Male lead Sean Christopher, from the UK, performs Jackson’s iconic dance moves dressed in outfits based on those the singer wore in his music videos. But Christopher says Thriller Live “is not your average tribute show”.
“Everyone is touched by Michael Jackson at some point in their lives – he was such a pioneering artist and a diverse individual that there is not one single performer in Thriller Live who can capture his essence entirely.
“There are five different singers who capture a different mood or part of his personality in the show.”
Christopher appears to capture the mystique of Jackson.
“My role is definitely the glorified role in the show. I perform the most iconic numbers, such as ‘Billie Jean’ – the ones that make the audience go crazy.
“People have commented that in my performances there is something that makes people keep wanting to watch – I try my best to give an authentic performance.”
Christopher has been touring with Thriller Live for the past four years and says he “channels Michael Jackson every day and prepares to step into that vision”.
“But it’s easy to forget that when you take away that vision, that he was spreading such an important message, and it takes me a moment to remember that his cause was so much bigger…
“That we need to remind ourselves what beautiful individuals we are upon this earth, that we need to give back to the earth what we take from it and that we need to try to heal the world that we live in.”
Christopher and the cast of more than 20 singers and dancers will be joined on this tour by two Australian stars – MiG Ayesa and Prinnie Stevens – who have just performed the roles in London’s West End.
In Australia, Ayesa recently performed in Grease, Cinderella and West Side Story, while Stevens is best known for her performances in Rent: The Musical, Leader of the Pack and Footloose.
Thriller Live pays homage to Michael Jackson through high-energy choreography and dance, “eye-popping video footage and effects”, signature costumes and many of his own favourite songs, including ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘Can You Feel It’, ‘Off the Wall’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘Beat It’, ‘Billie Jean’, ‘Dirty Diana’, ‘Bad’, ‘Rock With You’, ‘They Don’t Care About Us’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Heal The World’ and ‘Thriller’.
Thriller Live will be playing at the Festival Theatre from December 30 to January 11 ,with the official opening night on New Year’s Eve. Information and tickets available here.
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