Civic Theatre, cnr of Queen Street & Wellesley Street West, Auckland
12/02/2015 - 22/02/2015
THRILLER LIVE enters records books as the 20th longest running musical in West End history:
Played over 3000 shows globally
Seen by 3 million people
Toured to over 28 countries
“The Hits just keep on Coming” – Daily Telegraph, London
THRILLER LIVE, a spectacular concert production that celebrates the music of the world’s greatest entertainer, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five has played in London’s West End six capacity years since 2009, and last month entered the record books as the 20th longest running musical in West End history.
THRILLER LIVE opens at Auckland’s The Civic theatre on 12 February and will run through to 22 February with no possibility of an extension.
THRILLER LIVE is over two hours of non-stop hits from pop to rock, soul to disco in a show that pays homage to Michael Jackson’s legendary live performances and the magic of his 45-year musical history. THRILLER LIVE features stunning choreography and Michael’s innovative dance moves executed with flair, precision and passion in a show that fans will never forget.
Two of the stars on this tour will be MiG Ayesa (We Will Rock You, Annie, Rock Star: INXS, Rock of Ages, Burn The Floor) and Prinnie Stevens (The Voice Australia) who have just performed the roles in the West End, London.
Prinnie Stevens is one of Australia’s most sought after performers – an incredible singer, dancer, songwriter and presenter. Prinnie burst on to the scene at 17, performing in the Australian premiere of Rent: The Musical; Leader Of The Pack and Footloose. This was followed by her Helpmann nominated performance in Oh, What A Night! Following a stint in New York Prinnie auditioned for The Voice and made the top 4 in Team Joel. Last year Prinnie appeared on Celebrity Apprentice and joined Universal Music as a Solo Artist and released single “Don’t wake me up”. Earlier this year, she was Co Host on The Voice Kids and recently released EP “One night” that debuted at #13.
THRILLER LIVE contains all of Jackson’s favourite songs including: I Want You Back, ABC, Can You Feel It, Off The Wall, The Way You Make Me Feel, Smooth Criminal, Beat It, Billie Jean, Dirty Diana, Bad, Rock With You, They Don’t care About Us, Dangerous, Heal The World, and Thriller plus many more!
“This theatrical extravaganza is a breathtaking celebration – quite literally thrilling” – The Stage, UK
After opening in the Lyric Theatre London in January 2009 to rave reviews, THRILLER LIVE embarked on a world tour and a sell-out UK arena tour, played over 3000 shows globally to 3 million fans, visited over 28 countries, including Germany, Italy, Poland, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Singapore, South Africa, China, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Japan and Brazil and entered the West End record books by becoming the longest running show in the Lyric Theatres 125 year history.
THRILLER LIVE combines high-energy choreography and dancing, eye-popping video footage and a myriad of effects. Plus dazzling costumes, sequins and hot pants, not to mention that signature white suit and glove.
THRILLER LIVE was originally conceived and created by Adrian Grant, a long-time associate of Michael Jackson, and author of Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary. The Australian tour of THRILLER LIVE is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group, The Flying Music Company, BB Promotion and Lunchbox Theatricals in association with Key Concerts and Adelaide Festival Centre.
THRILLER LIVE continues to moonwalk around the world, taking audiences on a visual, audio and electrifying journey through Michael’s illustrious career. This two-hour bonanza of non-stop hits has everyone shimmying in their seats.
“Immensely enjoyable. This is great stuff. A wonderful catalogue of pop music at its best” – The Independent, London
“If you have a pulse you must go and see this show. It’s the freshest, funkiest show in town”- Playhouse Pickings, London
“Thriller Live is an astounding tribute to Michael Jackson’s career” – West End Frame, London
“Dazzlingly well-drilled and brilliantly done” – Mail on Sunday, London
Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/ThrillerAUNZ
Twitter: @ThrillerAUNZ Instagram: @ThrillerAUNZ Universal Hashtag: #thrillerlive
Venue: The Civic, Auckland
Dates: Wednesday 12 to Sunday 22 February
Tuesday – Friday 7.30pm,
Saturday 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Sunday 1pm & 5pm
Tickets: From $69.00
(Booking and transaction fees may apply)
Bookings: Ticketmaster 09 970 9700 or ticketmaster.co.nz
Theatre , Spectacle , Musical , Dance-theatre ,
Review by Sharu Delilkan 17th Feb 2015
Putting on a production that truly pays homage to Michael Jackson a.k.a. the King of Pop is a daunting task, to say the least. Bearing that in mind I decided to go to the show with low expectations, to ensure that I wasn’t disappointed. However I was pleasantly surprised by the entire production, including the singing, dancing, i.e. the overall top-notch quality that we were treated to on the Civic stage.
In the first instance credit should go to the executive director Adrian Grant for the original concept of Thriller Live and for making his vision a reality. It is evident that the show is a labour of love that has taken a lot of planning, research and no doubt hours of blood sweat and tears to ensure an amazingly high standard. [More]
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
A fitting tribute to the King of Pop
Review by Kate Ward-Smythe 14th Feb 2015
It’s fair to assume that an opening night audience will be positive, when the ‘switch off your phones blaa’ gets a huge applause. Amped up and ready to worship at the House of MJ, the crowd watch eagerly as the ‘overture’ features shots on the centre stage AV screen, of the cast getting ready to honour their guru.
Born from an annual ‘Michael Jackson Celebration’ which Executive Director Adrian Grant started in 1991, THRILLER Live is packed with energy, enthusiasm and love for the man who inspired it all.
Compared to the last show I saw that honoured the mastery of MJ (Cirque Du Soliel’s lavish IMMORTAL World Tour), this stage show is a comparatively modest production with a lot less special effects. However, THRILLER Live – directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd has warmth, connection, dance and vocal talent second to none.
Some moments are pure replica – a loyal tribute to the master’s original hand. In ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, Lloyd recreates the version Jackson was working on for his ‘This Is It’ 2009 comeback tour. Other moments are MJ reinvented, re-mixed and reinterpreted, such as Prinnie Stevens’ ‘Blame It On the Boogie’. Sometimes Lloyd does both within one song, such as ‘Billie Jean’.
Any way it’s dressed, every song is a winner.
Similarly, costume design by Rob Jones and Catherine Teatum is a stunning mix of replica (great to see a Run DMC shirt on stage) and contemporary style, fusing iconic colours and cuts from the decades of MJ’s music with now. A personal favourite is the Grace Jones’ inspired sequined sleeveless hoodie, with 80s lycra hot pants.
Nigel Catmur’s lighting has a backbone of primary colours, giving an overall retro-80s dance club feel to much of the night.
The fact that the star singers are from across the globe is testament to the wide reach and global affect of MJ.
Australian Tongan princess Prinnie Stevens wins the crowd over from her first note. Unashamedly styled like Queen B, while she doesn’t quite have Beyoncé’s strut, from her first solo, ‘I’ll Be There’, she proves that she’s got inspiring vocal chops.
The male singers are equally extraordinary, each bringing a special quality to the stage. Alex Buchanan from Manchester is as close as I’ve ever heard a male singer come to channelling the true vocal cut, edge and tenor range that Michael Jackson possessed. Buchanan is extraordinary, in particular when he delivers the seemingly unattainable hero notes in ‘Earth Song’.
When Sean Christopher from Birmingham takes to the stage for ‘This Place Hotel’ and ‘Dangerous’, my daughter simply says, “That looks like Michael Jackson.”
Washington DC’s J Rome’s opening notes in ‘Can You feel It’ (hell yeah, I can!) possesses a gorgeous vocal texture, plus he has the same warm appeal and engaging smile that MJ stamped on his early performances.
When Sydney’s MiG Ayesa interprets ‘She’s Out of My Life’, the audience’s reaction is sustained and loud.
Much respect to Wayne Robinson from London, who seems to completely lose the support of his in-ears monitors at the top of ‘Rock With You’, yet still nails the whole song and dance routine. That takes a true pro. His vocal phrasing in ‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’, with Prinnie Stevens, is gorgeous.
Musical Supervisor and head Arranger John Maher’s inspiring band plays to perfection. The two guitarists, who deliver their solos in the limelight, are note perfect and phenomenal. Even though a faux horn section is never as magic as the real thing, the keyboard players are equally remarkable.
In terms of the song-list, I find the early material, celebrating the Jackson 5 – ‘I Want You Back’; ‘Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)’ – just as engaging as the big fat mega-hits of Jackson’s solo years. Predictably, however, it is the first few notes of songs such as ‘Beat it’ and ‘Bad’ that send the audience into a euphoric tailspin. My personal favourites are ‘Smooth Criminal’ and ‘They Don’t Care About Us’ seguing into ‘Earth Song’; each are as memorable musically, as they are performance-wise.
Full kudos to Director and Choreographer Gary Lloyd for shaping the song list so well; injecting just what’s needed into each song; whether it be simultaneous back-flips from three dancers; sassy back lit tango-inspired couples; or simply given the entire stage to a soloist when they have either the voice to carry it, or the moves to inspire us.
Lloyd makes good use of Jonathan Park’s functional two-tiered set, delivering iconic moment such as ‘Smooth Criminal’s’ anti-gravity lean, from an elevated, front and centre position, which elicits one of the biggest cheers of the night.
Lloyd is blessed by an ensemble of fierce versatile dancers, who transcend the musical genres of Motown, disco, pop, ballads and rock with ease. First, by oozing the innocence and fun of Jackson’s early years; then making break-dancing cool again; before comfortably slipping into risqué jazz contemporary mode for numbers like ‘This Place Hotel’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’. In amongst it all, there are sequences of hip-hop that would impress Parris G. A personal favourite is the entrance of five men in tight pants and sparkly open shirts. The iconic MJ pelvic thrust is alive and well and lives on through this extraordinary ensemble.
A key factor I love about Lloyd’s style is that while both singers and dancers are connected during uniform choreography (such as the sexy team driving ‘Shake Your Body’), every artist is given licence to break out with their own chic from time to time.
Chris Whybrow’s audio is occasionally cloudy and muffled – though perhaps balmy harmonious waves is his intention during some company numbers. Perhaps the slight lack of clarity (and at times over-bearing subs, which seemed to move the room in ‘Shake Your Body’) comes from the PA feeding the stalls, being on ground level. I’d be interested to know if the audio in the circle had more clarity and definition. While the all important engine room, the band, are thumping, at the start of the night, the kick in the kit is so loud, that it blows out a ballad; plus the keys dominate too much and we lose the essence of pop: finesse.
While the cast’s genuine love of MJ is apparent each time they break the song cycle to speak to us direct about MJ’s biographical milestones, occasionally these moments feel a tad redundant and obvious. We know why we are here.
However, overall, the net result of Adrian Grant’s original concept plus this production’s creative input and this multi-cultural, multi-talented cast, is a fitting tribute to the King of Pop.
Whatever every person sitting in the Civic last night perceives Michael Jackson to have been, after this brilliant show no one in the theatre could deny he was an incredible singer, writer, dancer, performer and a brave, bold, game-changing artist within the genres he defined.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Tony can you hear me February 16th, 2015
Do you think Quincy jones and Jackson got it spot on in one take?
Try 40 songs mixed and produced live in one session ... that was complexity and finesse.
Im sure the majaority of audience along with myself felt it was true to the record, the time they must have spent finessing every sound, mix and effect for each song wouldn't have been chosen for any other reason apart from to stay true to the record to my ears.
If you Turned the system off then you would hear the sound of silence...
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