Michael Jackson's THRILLER to 'Strike' on Broadway?
The New York Post's PAGE SIX is reporting that James Nederlander is producing a musical version of Michael Jackson's video for his hit song ‘THRILLER'. Jackson's album of the same name is the best-selling record of all time. It spawned such hits as ‘Billie Jean', ‘Beat It', ‘The Girl Is Mine' and of course ‘Thriller'. Not much else is known other than a production is being planned. In an age where films are making the leap to the Broadway stage, it doesn't surprise that classic music videos might be thrown into the mix, Thriller in many ways resembled a musical with its dancing zombies and dynamic visuals. Hey, if vampires could take a bite out of the Rialto, why not singing zombies?
The release became the first album to reach number one in the United States and the United Kingdom simultaneously, becoming the first album to ever have that honor. 'Thriller', at the height of its success was selling a million copies a week worldwide. In little over a year, Thriller became the best-selling album of all time. Sales are estimated to be somewhere between 47-108 million copies sold worldwide. Seven of the album's nine songs were released as singles, and all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album won a record-breaking seven Grammy Awards in1984.
Michael Jackson was one of the first artists to embrace the music video format, and with ‘Thriller' he took it to a level rivaling theatrical releases of the time. The 14-minute music video for the song of the same name was directed by John Landis who also co-wrote the screenplay with Jackson. ‘Thriller' was broadcast on MTV three weeks before Christmas 1983. It was the most expensive video of its time, costing $500,000 to make, and the Guinness World Records in 2006 list it as the "most successful music video", selling over 9 million copies.
'Thriller' featured choreographed zombies performing with Jackson as he danced his way through a spoof of the classic Night of the Living Dead and Universal Studios Horror films. Co-starring with Jackson was former Playboy centerfold Ola Ray. The video was choreographed by Michael Peters with major contributions by Jackson. The two had worked together before with great success on ‘Beat It' The video also contains incidental music by legendary film composer Elmer Bernstein, who had previously also worked with Landis on An American Werewolf in London. Thriller also spotlighted a spoken word performance by horror film icon Vincent Price. Hollywood make-up master Rick Baker assisted in prosthetics and creatures for the production.
'Thriller' debuted at a special theatrical screening, in hopes to qualify for an Oscar along with the 1940 animated motion picture Fantasia. Thriller is still a successful seller to this day. The video is still considered a classic, Jackson of course has gone on to become both a figure of enormous creativity and scandalous infamy.