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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 August 2006, 08:20 GMT 09:20 UK
Jacko tribute heads to West End

By Matilda Egere-Cooper
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

Thriller Live
The musical features over 80 performers including a gospel choir

A spectacular musical based on Michael Jackson's greatest hits is making its way to London's West End.

Thriller Live features more than 80 performers including a gospel choir, children's ballet and West End singers and dancers to reinterpret the singer's most memorable songs.

Producer Adrian Grant has hailed the show a "musical celebration" and says it will help to revive Jackson's status as the King of Pop.

"It's to remind the public that Michael Jackson is still a great artist, and to put his music back out in the public domain," says Mr Grant, who founded the original Michael Jackson British fan club in 1988.

"A lot of his music has been covered at the moment and if you go to the nightclubs and a hear a Michael Jackson track, people get up and dance, so he's still very popular."

Thriller Live
It's to remind the public that Michael Jackson is still a great artist
Producer Adrian Grant

Developed in eight months, Mr Grant first came up with the idea for Thriller Live back in 2002 following the success of his annual Michael Jackson Tribute show.

"We've been doing the annual Michael Jackson tribute since 1991 and it's been getting bigger and bigger each year," he says.

"So we decided that as the show got bigger we would look at a West End production."

The beginning of the show focuses on the singer's Motown years with the Jackson Five before moving onto the infamous Thriller period and his most recent chart moments.


"It's not a story, it's just Michael's hit singles on stage," Mr Grant says."It's a song and dance performance, and it's very much like a spectacle of singers and dancers."

As a result, he adds, no-one is faced with the challenge of playing Jackson himself.

"We made it very clear from the very beginning that we couldn't get anybody to play or imitate Michael because we don't think there's anybody that could really do that, and it would become like a parody.

Thriller Live
Thriller Live has already generated a buzz around the country

"We have several different singers, with children from the age of eight singing the early stuff.

"We've got a range of different singers interpreting his music, but nobody's actually playing Michael Jackson."

Although the superstar has not been involved in the development of the musical, he gave Mr Grant his blessing, who has already written several authorised books on Jackson's career.

So far the one-day musical has generated a buzz around the country and beyond, but it is Mr Grant's hope that it could eventually go on tour.

"The interest has been really good. We've got people from all over Europe coming, from Germany, Spain, Italy, and all over the UK," he says.

"But we'll see how it goes on the day, get the public's feedback and decide from there what we'd like to do. We've had interest from people who want to take it on the road."

Thriller Live is showing at London's Dominion Theatre on 27 August.

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