FOR so many decades, Michael Jackson was a household name for people worldwide — people from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, ages and beliefs. “MJ” was synonymous with the rise of MTV and pop music, and the world watched, as the little boy who captured so many hearts with his angelic voice singing “I’ll Be There” in 1970 grew up before their eyes.
Jackson inspired so many; and although a litany of bad press followed him in later years, his music always withstood the test of time. Even now, three years after his death, his records are still being played on the radio, on TV, live stages and in millions of homes around the world.
In 2009, London’s West End created a musical entitled Thriller: A Musical Celebration which opened to sold out audiences and standing ovations. Intended to pay homage to Jackson’s legendary live performances and the amazing legacy of his 45-year musical history, Thriller Live has since become Lyric Theatre’s longest running musical in the Hammersmith, London venue’s 126-year history.
Five years on, the show has toured over 28 countries which include Germany, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Japan, and Brazil, playing over 5,000 shows globally to three million fans and counting.
The show’s creator, British writer and theatre producer Adrian Grant, was a close associate of Jackson, and had the privilege of visiting Jackson’s home, “Neverland” on several occasions. He recounts — among other things — of always being in awe of the magic that surrounded the house and its grounds.
“Thriller Live doesn’t feature any lookalikes or characters portraying Michael Jackson’s life. Instead, we have an ensemble cast each playing different parts. The show is a celebration of Michael’s musical career. We always get asked if the show has changed at all since his death. The answer is, no. We haven’t had to. This show has always been intended to be a celebration of his life’s work,” Grant explained.
In 2015, for the first time ever, Thriller Live will be visiting Southeast Asia, and the show will be playing in Malaysia from March 19 to 25. The musical features a cast of over 50 performers directly from West End, London, who will be performing some of Jackson’s best-loved hits including: I Want You Back, I’ll Be There, Show You the Way to Go, Can You Feel It, Rock with You, Beat It, Billie Jean, Earth Song, and of course, Thriller.
According to the managing director of Milestones Production, Grace Lee, during a press conference announcing the show, audiences can expect a two-hour experience with an “amalgamation of eye-popping video footages, special effects, dazzling costumes and high energy choreography”.
Expecting up to 80,000 people from around the region to attend, the props used on the set of the show will be shipped here directly from the United Kingdom, so Malaysians can enjoy the musical concert in its most original form.
The show’s choreography was put together by none other than Gary Lloyd, the man who directed and choreographed the award-winning hit, Man in the Mirror. Lloyd has also worked with super stars Leona Lewis and Robbie Williams in his career.
In collaboration with Malaysia Major Events (which is under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia), Milestone Production is bringing Thriller Live to Malaysian shores so that all of us will have the opportunity to relive the King of Pop’s masterful and everlasting hits packaged into a once-in-a-lifetime West End theatrical production.
Thriller: A Musical Celebration will be playing at the Putra Indoor Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Tickets are priced from RM128 to RM538, and early birds will enjoy a 25% discount for purchases by Jan 12. Tickets can be purchased via www.ticketcharge.com.my. For more information on tickets, please call 03-9222 8811, and for information on the show, please visit www.milestone-entertainment.com.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 15, 2014.