For 4 decades, the king of pop had shook the world with upbeat massive hits such as ‘Black or White’, to tear-jerkers such as ‘Heal the World’, sending messages out to many from young to old.  From his early years in The Jackson 5 to his unparalleled career as a solo artiste, he dazzled individuals from all parts of the world and sold more than 750 million records – of course, not forgetting Thriller, one of his most acclaimed works.

Dubbed as the most successful artiste of all time by Guinness World Records, Michael Jackson – fondly referred to as ‘Michael’ by the cast – has touched the hearts of multitudinous from all parts of the world, and was laid to peace on 25 Jun 2009.

Whilst many controversies surrounding his personal life outside of music, his loyal Singapore fans whom never got the chance to see the 13 Grammy Award-winning artiste live, would be able to relive his glorious moments as Base Entertainment Asia brings to us THRILLER – LIVEfrom 3 May onwards.

With nearly 1.2 million tickets sold to date, THRILLER – LIVEis more than just a performance or a show, but rather a tribute to one of the world’s most phenomenal artiste, Michael Jackson.

Comprising of young Tyler McLean/Tariq Wooding-Olajorin as Young Michael, Alex Buchanan, John Moabi, J Rome and the only female performer Brittany Woodrow, and not to forget, the late MJ’s co-choreographer-cum-double Ricko Baird,the cast has three acclaimed UK tours to their name, priding standing ovations across Europe. The privileged 15 and 6-piece live band were thrilled – pardon the pun – to relive the magical moments of MJ.

With only a limited run of 16 shows, Singaporeans of all ages who are MJ’s fans better grab their tickets soon before the seats fills up! Urbanwire finds out more about what the impeccably put together cast of THRILLER – LIVEthinks about thepop icon themselves.

About Michael

When asked if they were fans, the cast simultaneously agreed without hesitation that they were all huge fans of the king of pop.

“Actually I worked with Michael, I did his last video before he passed away, I did a couple of live shows as well,” Ricko Baird explained. “I’m definitely a huge fan.”

It was indeed a wonder that the divergent cast who represented Michael in many different stages of his life were able to channel their inner Michael in them as a company, despite the fact that all had different performing abilities and backgrounds.

19-year-old Alex Buchanan explained, “I think because we are so influenced by Michael as individual artistes as it is, it doesn’t really stray too far because we used elements of what he did as an inspiration to us.”

“There’s a certain pressure that comes with having to take such material and put it to the audience because every single person at least has a favourite song in the show and they want to hear Michael. They want to feel that force and that magic, but that keeps you wanting to give the people the best you can because you know the expectations”, he added. “It’s also gets very emotional in the show.”

Ricko, who plays Michael Jackson in the show, admitted sheepishly that “[he] gets very nervous sometimes because it’s such big shoes to fill.”

Thriller, thrilling?

Many would argue that the show would never be the same without Michael Jackson himself, so why did THRILLER – LIVEsurface? The cast unravels the significance of the show, dedicated specially to the late icon’s fans.

“I think it gives people who loved Michael, people who maybe did or didn’t get to see Michael, a chance to either relive that, or see something close to what could’ve been” Alex clarified. “He might not be here anymore, but he very much still lives in everyone. We all have our own memories and personal experience of how Michael touched us, for his music and his dance and his vision. So, people will walk away with their own personal relationship with Michael as if he’s still there, through his music.”

Producer-singer-songwriter John Moabi emphasized further that it carries on MJ’s legacy, adding on with a smile, “I don’t think we’ve touched even a third of his material, I don’t think we’ll ever get to cover all of it, we’re just carrying on with his magic. We can’t give full of what Michael is, but we try to give a little bit of what he was and our overall goal is for people to walk away with that feeling of fulfilment and a smile.”

“I think it’s important to keep his art, his spirit, his motion because it’s very much still present, that’s what who he is. It’s more about his performance and music than just sitting down talking to him. He’ll show you more on stage and listening to his music, so we’re just trying to keep that energy and motion circulating”, declared J Rome, who was also a former performer at former president, Bill Clinton’s inauguration.

Forget all the other stuff, Michael was all about his talent.

Alex declared, “It’s a total package really, what you see, what you hear, what you feel. And he was hands-on about everything, from the lights, to the music, his costumes. He was very much in touch with every single aspect of his performance and you can’t ask for a better package from an all-round artiste.”

Personal picks

Ricko: “‘Heartbreak Hotel’, because I love that song, it’s my favourite.

Alex: “I think it would be ‘Heal the World’, because the whole company is together on the stage, and it just shows peace, joy and love. I think that’s a message that Michael always tries to get out. I think we all feel that when we are on stage doing that number and it puts out a great message.”

John: “‘Rock With You’, because it’s one of my favourite songs that we sing in the shows. And I like the way my friend (points to J Rome) sings it there. Smooth, just smooth!”

Tyler: “I would say my favourite song is ‘Black or White’ because I think it sends out a message, to everyone and to himself, because obviously a lot of people have said things about Michael bleaching his skin and all that. I think he’s trying to say that it doesn’t really matter, that’s why it’s my favourite song.”

Brittany: “‘I Want You Back’ is my favourite song from the Jackson 5, because I am simply in love with Jackson 5.”

J Rome: “Mine is ‘Dancing Machine’ because it’s just such a high energy song, as you’re singing the song there’s a lot of dancing, very powerful singing as well, I just love the energy and message behind it.”

What’s next?

Instantly dubbed “humid” by the cast, they were so caught up in their rehearsals that they hardly had time to explore the sunny island. “We’re kind of dedicated right now to the audience and we know that people have taken a lot of time to come and see [the show] and they expect to see something great.” John explains.

“I’m sure we’ll get our time by the pool to chill out. It’s a beautiful pool!” Alex said with a laugh.

So what happens after the run of 16 shows in Singapore? The cast splits up for a while to their respective shows in different parts of the world, coming together again for more world tours, as Alex elucidated, “Some of us have a show based in London, West End, so we’ll go back and do that show for a few more weeks, then we’ll fly to Abu Dhabi and to represent him as well as we can, then we’ll be back in West End again.”

Last words

As we bade goodbye to the multi-talented cast, Alex, the most outspoken of the cast leaves us with a few words with regards to the show that was debuting later that night,

“We don’t impersonate him, it’s not a group of MJs on stage, and it’s us, interpreting MJ’s material in our own different ways but centred to his vision.”

Long live the king of pop, it looks like the legacy of Michael Jackson, is here to stay.

Check out Urbanwire’s take on the show here.

Tickets to Thriller – Live, from May 3- 15 are available at Sistic from $90 up. Click here for more details.