Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Thursday, 4 December 2008

Boys' joy at playing idol Jackson

Kieran Alleyne, Layton Williams, Sterling Williams
The three boys are all fans of Michael Jackson's work

Three teenagers who are to play Michael Jackson in the new West End show Thriller Live have spoken of their excitement at portraying their idol.

Layton Williams from Bury, Sterling Williams from London and Kieran Alleyne from Leicester - all aged 13 - will play the pop superstar in rotation.

They appeared at the Lyric Theatre dressed in 1970s clothes and performed Jackson 5 hit I Want You Back.

"It's quite scary that we have to be him as he was so amazing," said Layton.

'Overwhelmed'

Layton, the most experienced performer of the three, was the first black Billy Elliot.

"I'm just going to have to do my best," he added.

"I really like just getting on stage and, when I finish, for the audience to appreciate it and applaud you. It's a really good buzz.

I've always looked up to Michael Jackson. He has always been an idol to me
Thriller Live's Kieran Alleyne

"Working on stage is what I want to do for the rest of my life."

Sterling, who has played Simba in Lion King in the West End, said: "I love singing his [Jackson's] songs, so this is the perfect role for me."

The less-experienced Kieran beat 60 other hopefuls in open auditions to become one of the Michael Jacksons.

"I've always looked up to Michael Jackson. He has always been an idol to me and I've always been trying to follow in his footsteps and to get into a singing career.

"I'm really overwhelmed to be performing in a show which is a tribute to him," he said.

The opening performance of the show, which celebrates Jackson's career and features his hits, will take place on 2 January.

The singer is not involved in the production.

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