Profile: Thriller Live
Thriller Live has gone from strength to strength since it opened at the Lyric Theatre in 2009 and as it now enters its 7th year at the West End venue it has become the 17th longest running musical in the capital. It has a long way to go to beat those at the top like Les Miserables and The Phantom of the Opera (which opened in 1985 and 1986 respectively), but it is clearly a big success for the more recent hit.
To celebrate this milestone for one of the West End’s big success stories, now seems like a great time to take a look at Thriller Live.
The production opened in January 2009 and back then the King of Pop Michael Jackson was still alive, with the show billed as a celebration of his work up to that moment, but all of that changed in the summer of that year when Jackson died in Los Angeles. Not only was the show retooled to reflect the life of the pop star, it also became a shrine for his fans to leave flowers and messages of remembrance.
Audiences might also remember that Jackson was due to start high profile performances at the O2 Arena that year and whilst it was cancelled fans still had Thriller Live, which provided the live renditions of his hits.
So as the new decade arrived Thriller Live had become an intrinsic part of the West End and few could imagine Theatreland without. Every so often another show graces its stage, usually on a Monday during Thriller Live’s off-day (such as Seasons of Larson in January), but Thriller Live has remained.
The production features live performances of many songs from Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, so audiences are treated to the title song, plus ABC, Black Or White, Smooth Criminal, Dirty Diana, Billie Jean, Beat It and Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough, amongst others. These are sung by some talented performersand backed up by spectacular dancers including vocalists Jordan Alexander and James Buchanan and dancers like Ebony Clarke.
It is clear that Michael Jackson’s legacy is in safe hands with Thriller Live, which has also been seen all over the world in addition to its West End run and as it lands this big milestone there will be plenty hoping that there will be many more to come.
After all, whilst it has a long way to go to match the 30-year run of Les Miserables or the long runs of other shows like Mamma Mia! and The Lion King, it is clearly a big part of the musical theatre scene in London’s West End.
Thriller Live runs at the Lyric Theatre and is currently booking to Sunday 4th September 2016.