Preview: Thriller Live, Dominion Theatre, London
Wednesday 16 August 2006
"It's a musical celebration of Michael Jackson's career, his music and his hit songs," says Adrian Grant, Thriller Live's producer. "I picked out the 28 songs knowing from previous shows what pleases the audience and then I threw in a couple of unfamiliar ones. I believe that Michael is sometimes underrated as an artist and as a songwriter and there's a lot of great stuff on his albums that wasn't released as a hit singles."
Thriller Live, which involves 14 dancers, a children's ballet company and vocals from a gospel choir, grew out of the Michael Jackson Tribute, an annual production for fans premiered by Grant in 1991. "I've been thinking about turning it into a West-End event having seen shows such as Dancing in the Streets and Mamma Mia!, but, unfortunately, Michael had the court case and that took his career away for a couple of years. When that all ended, I started planning."
Although the "King of Pop" has not been actively involved in the production, he is aware of it and has been invited to attend by Grant personally.
"I started the British fan club in 1988, and then Michael invited me out to Los Angeles when he was recording Dangerous. We got on really well; he's really cool and laid-back," says Grant. "I've been to Neverland numerous times and as the fan club grew, I started publishing. I've written three books now, approved by Michael."
Arranged in rough chronological order, the first half of the show charts Jackson's early career, from the Motown years through to the "Blame It on the Boogie" disco tracks - "all things to get the audience up and dancing".
After the interval come the more familiar "Thriller" and "Beat It", featuring detailed choreography under the direction of Kerys Nathan. Grant is confident that the show will prove a hit: "We're hopefully going to tour the UK in the spring. And I've got further musical productions lined up for next year, but I can't tell you what they are at the moment."
27 August (07000 107 000; www.thrillerlive.com)
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