The Cast of THRILLER LIVE Celebrates Michael Jackson's Diamond Birthday
How does Thriller Live mark what would have been Michael Jackson's 60th birthday? By entertaining crowds from the top of the Thriller Live bus, naturally. Yesterday, BroadwayWorld got to go along for a special celebration in honour of the legendary singer's birthday.
After taking photos with the special Thriller Live bus in front of the show's home, the Lyric Theatre, we took a drive over to Trafalgar Square while cast members performed classic hits from the top level. The cast also appears on The One Show last night.
The show is now in its tenth year, making it the sixth-longest-running musical in the West End. It's the longest-ever run of a show in the history of the Lyric Theatre, which opened in 1888. It is unique in that it has no script or story, but is a celebration of Michael Jackson's music and dance legacy.
Cast member Vivienne Ekwulugo said she thinks the draw for audiences is not just an amazing cast and an exciting production, but Michael Jackson's music itself. "It's Michael's sheer legacy and his talent, and we've been fortunate enough to represent that in the West End. I really do believe it's the power of Michael and him being a fantastic, legendary, one-in-a-million artist. We've been able to capture a bit of what he brought to the stage, and I think that's why it's still going."
Haydon Eshun, another member of the cast, also agrees that it's Jackson's enduring legacy that brings fans to the theatre. He said: "We bring the essence of his performance and the passion he had. It's such a great, uplifting show. I think people come out just to have a good time and enjoy it."
Eshun has completed over 3,100 performances in the show, meaning he holds the record for a lead singer in a musical. When asked how he keeps the show fresh after so many performances, he said: "I feel like Michael's music is really challenging. That's what's helped me through. I love performing his music and dancing. It's refreshing every day for me."
Thriller Live will celebrate reaching 4,000 performances with a Gala Charity Performance on 12 September in aid of The Prince's Trust. Jon Culshaw and Russell Kane will host the show with more guests to be announced. It will launch a year-long partnership with The Prince's Trust.
Photo Credit: Betty Zapata
Vivienne Ekwulugo, David Julien