THRILLER LIVE Opens At Auckland’s The Civic Theater – February 12, 2015

Sources: | Heart of the City| Edited By – All Things Michael


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.

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 ofTHRILLER 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.

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 ofRent: 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 onThe 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!


“The Hits just keep on Coming” – Daily Telegraph, London

“This theatrical extravaganza is a breathtaking celebration –
quite literally thrilling” – The Stage, UK

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 :
Twitter: @ThrillerAUNZ Instagram: @ThrillerAUNZ Universal Hashtag: #thrillerlive

Venue: The Civic, Auckland
Dates: Wednesday, February 12 to Sunday, February 22,  2015
Times: Tuesday – Friday 7:30 pm, Saturday 2:30 pm & 7:30 pm
and Sunday 1:00 pm & 5:00 pm
Tickets: From $69 (Booking and transaction fees may apply)
Bookings: Ticketmaster 09 970 9700 or


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Invincible: A Glorious Tribute To Michael Jackson – November 22

Sources: My Strand Capitol | Edited By – All Things Michael

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From the early moments with his brothers in the Jackson 5 to his stratospheric rise as a solo artist to become one of the greatest entertainers of all time, this is the only show that brings back the spirit and the essence of seeing Michael Jackson Live again onstage!

Masterfully performing the unique dancing that Michael was so famous for, two talented performers portray Michael at different stages of his dynamic career in this multi-media spectacular featuring his greatest hits including “Billie Jean,” “Beat It,” “Thriller,” “Smooth Criminal,” and more!

This acclaimed production includes a world-class dance company, Grammy Award-winning vocalists, and master musicians and percussionists. You don’t want to miss this thrilling theatrical experience!

Produced and Directed by Bessie Award winner Darrin Ross of RossLive Entertainment

Group Tickets
Groups of 10 or more get 10% off! Call the Box Office at 717-846-1111 to place group orders.  



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TJ Lubinsky Secures Rights To Famed Motown 25 Special For Public TV Pledge

Sources: Current – By Dru Sefton | Edited By – All Things Michael


Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever, the famous 1983 special on which Michael Jackson debuted his signature moonwalk and Smokey Robinson reunited with the Miracles, is coming to public television via pledge producer and doo-wop showman TJ Lubinsky.

The two-hour program has not aired since its initial broadcast on NBC due to complex rights issues, Lubinsky said. He negotiated a two-year exclusive contract for public television stations to run the entire show.

The list of performers is a who’s who from Motown, the famous Detroit-based record label: Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, the Supremes, the Jackson 5, the Temptations, the Four Tops and more. Hosting is comedian Richard Pryor, then at the height of his career. The show went on to win a Peabody Award and an Emmy for variety program.

Although he was just 11 at the time, Lubsinky vividly remembers watching the special, which featured a series of dazzling performances by entertainers who rarely performed on the same stage. “It was the only time in my life where everybody was talking about the same thing for the next couple days,” he said. “Teachers, kids in school, disc jockeys on the radio were all buzzing. It was just one of those shows.”

TJ Lubinsky

TJ Lubinsky

Lubinsky also credits the program with sparking his lifelong love of music and the passion to share that with an audience. “That was a defining moment,” he said. “I knew that in some way I had to be a part of all this.” He went on to become one of the most successful pledge program producers in public television. Lubinksy estimates that his music shows have brought in more than $500 million for public broadcasting stations since the first aired in 1998.

He will test Motown during December pledge at four pilot stations: WNET in New York; WETA, Arlington, Va.; KQED, San Francisco; and Maryland Public Television. “It’s important for an event like this that we look at the impacts of scheduling, promotion and how to reach the target audience on many emotional levels,” he said. “Programmers can point out pitfalls. That will really give it the best shot at reaching the most eyeballs.” The finalized show and breaks will go out to the system for use during March pledge as a 119-minute pledge event including four 11:30 breaks.

Premiums include tickets to Motown the Musical, now touring nationally, as well as a DVD of the full concert in newly remastered 5.1 surround sound with more than an hour of bonus material, including the 40-minute documentary The Making of Motown 25 and a performers’ roundtable.

An expanded three-DVD set contains more than six hours of extras, such as outtake songs, footage of a Marvin Gaye rehearsal, and performer and production roundtables. The “My Music” seven-CD set Motown Big Hits & More presents 132 cuts from the label’s other performers, including the Spinners, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and the Isley Brothers.

Lubinsky spent years working intermittently to secure the special for public TV. “HBO and several big cable companies were also looking at it,” he said. “Rights were much more complicated than for the average show.” Motown founder Berry Gordy owned the program, which involved many individual musicians, groups and songwriters.

Lubinsky thinks his longtime relationship with several major record labels helped him win out in the end. “Trust is a big thing in these deals,” he said. “Rights owners are trusting you with their baby, that you’ll present it well. A lot of people have to have confidence in you.”

He also hopes to someday pull content from his vast musical archive to create weekly non-pledge programming for stations.

Lubinsky envisions expanding his popular nostalgic “My Music” franchise into the regular schedule. “That’s a brand that PBS and member stations can truly claim as uniquely their own,” he said. Programs could feature performer interviews and “where are they now” updates.

While shooting pledge events, Lubinsky also tapes interviews and other content. The program could capture “emotions, triumphs, struggles and challenges that speak to the very core and nature of the human condition, where the ‘payoff’ episode is the pledge special,” he said.

With PBS now working with icon series producers to pledge the National Program Service, Lubinsky noted, such a show seems a natural fit. He’s floated the idea over the years, he added, “but I haven’t been able to align with a PBS champion that sees the potential and can engage others in the process.”


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Michael Jackson’s Purchase Of The Beatles Catalog Saves Sesame Street

Sources: Muppet Wiki | Bathroom Reader | Edited By – All Things Michael


Letter B” is a song parody of The Beatles song “Let It Be,” sung on Sesame Street by The Beetles. Richard Hunt provided lead vocals. As the title implies, the song teaches about B words.

When the Beatles’ catalog was still owned by Northern Songs, the company attempted to sue Children’s Television Workshop for $5.5 million. They cited that the song too closely resembled “Let It Be.” Before the case came to trial, Michael Jackson purchased the Lennon/McCartney catalog. Immediately after the deal was finalized in 1985, Jackson cancelled the lawsuit.

The Children Television Workshop is a nonprofit group, and a payout of that magnitude likely would have crippled the company and led to the end of Sesame Street, a beloved TV show around the world, and credited with helping millions of children learn to read.

The CTW was only fined $50, which was paid out of Christopher Cerf’s own pocket. Paul McCartney, who was not involved in the lawsuit, wrote to Cerf saying that he liked the song.



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Ne-Yo and Sonna Rele Cover Michael Jackson’s Earth Song On New EP For Climate Change – HOME (Heal Our Mother Earth)

Sources: National Journal -By Jason Plautz | All Things Michael


Common’s newest track began with a conversation about water pollution.

“We’re in the studio, and we’re talking about how bad the water is and this drought in Southern California where you’ve got the reservoirs drying up. We’re looking at pictures online and we’re saying, ‘We’re in trouble,’” said producer Malik Yusef. “When we talked about some of the obvious problems, he said, ‘This is real.’ It’s one of these situations where you have to ask what we can do.”

The result was “Trouble in the Water,” one of four new original songs on an album executive-produced by Yusef titled HOME (Heal Our Mother Earth). Besides Common, the Grammy-winning rapper, the album includes contributions from Ne-Yo (the R&B singer behind “She Knows“), Elle Varner, Choklate, and Aaron Fresh.

It’s part of People’s Climate Music from the progressive Hip-Hop Caucus and major environmental groups to raise awareness and “inspire action” on climate change.

Four original songs from the album were released Tuesday on an EP on iTunes. The full 11-track album is out Dec. 2 with covers of some environmental standards. Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy, Mercy Me” is tackled by Broadway actress Antonique Smith, while Michael Jackson’s environment and animal-welfare anthem “Earth Song” is covered by Ne-Yo and Sonna Rele.

Joni Mitchell’s folk classic “Big Yellow Taxi?” That’s covered by Karmin, the duo best known for 2012′s “Brokenhearted.”

Yusef, who has won five Grammys including Best Rap Song for “All Of The Lights” by Kanye West, said the covers were of songs that “mean something to people … not just people in this movement, but everyone.”

As for the originals, Yusef said he hoped they could reach a new audience that isn’t necessarily engaged on the ins-and-outs of the Keystone XL pipeline or the EPA’s climate rules. “I’ve been blessed with the kind of ear to make great music, and I have the accolades to go with it. People will take this much more from me as a purveyor of the arts rather than just some guy out there with Occupy Wall Street,” he said.

On “Trouble in the Water,” (which also features Kumasi, Aaron Fresh, Choklate, and Laci Kay) wonky issues like fracking get name-checked amid bigger concerns about water safety and pollution, but it’s not all earnest. It’s got some NSFW language, also deals with police violence in Chicago, and even includes the line “We think our opponent is overseas, but we’re messing with Mother Nature’s ovaries.”

The album was created by the Hip-Hop Caucus, the activist group that has allied with and other environmental groups, in partnership with the entertainment agency The Private Plane. Also partnering on the project were environmental heavyweights, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club.

“I am an environmentalist in whole, and I and my family do my small part to recycle, conserve water, reduce our carbon footprint. But we need more,” Yusef said. “I think the biggest lesson here was that everybody was able to come away with a bigger, broader sense of purpose. … We’re artists and we have a bit of a megaphone, but we’re regular people. So let’s use our regular-people spirit in conjunction with that and make a difference.”


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2 Kings Show Pays Homage To Michael Jackson And Elvis Presley

Sources: RGJ – By Brandi Schlossberg | All Things Michael


Bringing together the music and memory of both Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, “2 Kings” pays tribute to the King of Rock-and-Roll and the King of Pop with live performances of their hit songs, complete with the signature dance moves and clothing.

The show stars George Thomas as Presley and a performer who goes by the pseudonym Scorpio as Jackson, along with five backup dancers and a full band.

“It’s a brilliant concept because people have never seen Elvis and Michael perform together, and with the dancers and live band, it’s a very strong show,” Scorpio said. “People are loving it.”

The show opens with Scorpio’s performance of Jackson through the years. The audience hears songs that range from “Beat It” and “Billie Jean” to “Thriller” and “Smooth Criminal.” Scorpio, who has been a Jackson tribute artist for more than 20 years, not only resembles the star, but also has the voice and dance moves to match.



“Michael Jackson was a powerful performer. You can’t just get up there and do Michael — you have to have the spirit,” he said. “The singing is fast and hard, and the dancing is fast and hard. You have to be on point with every little thing.”

Along with the vocals and dance moves, those who go to see “2 Kings” also get a chance to watch as Scorpio changes his hair and wardrobe to represent Jackson at various phases in his career.

Following the string of hits from the King of Pop, the second segment of the show shines the spotlight on Thomas, who takes the stage with a booming Presley voice. A long-time fan of the King of Rock-and-Roll, Thomas said he aims to honor his favorite artist with every performance.

“I connect with my own passion for his music, and the way it thrilled me as a kid watching his old videos, and I try to give some of that energy back to the audience and move them the way this music moves me,” Thomas said.

Thomas said he got his start when someone heard him singing “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and suggested he enter an upcoming Elvis contest. To Thomas’ surprise, he won first place and went on to win a string of similar competitions.

“Singing for me was a hobby, and Elvis music was a passion,” he said. “It never crossed my mind to perform — I just liked to sing the songs and sort of clown around and entertain people here and there.”

Thomas began to move in the direction of becoming a professional tribute artist after receiving a call to perform as Presley on the Joan Rivers Show.

Since that time, he has made a career out of impersonating the King of Rock-and-Roll at an array of entertainment venues and corporate events.

“I prefer the term Elvis tribute artist because Elvis impersonator conjures up images of some of the caricatures out there — guys who mean well, but they look like cartoon versions of Elvis when he wasn’t at his best,” Thomas said. “I don’t like to poke fun at Elvis’ legacy, but to perform the music with respect and honor. I don’t want to be a cheeseball, and that’s why my style is really just trying to capture his essence and portray him in his prime.”

During “2 Kings,” the crowd can see Thomas swinging his hips and singing his way through the King of Rock-and-Roll’s most famous songs, including a performance of “Suspicious Minds” in the iconic white jumpsuit. For the show’s final act, Thomas and Scorpio join together for a duet of “Viva Las Vegas.”

Throughout “2 Kings,” the live band, led by music director Nathan Owens, performs all the music for both tribute artists, as well as several instrumental numbers and famous cover songs, such as James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.”

The band includes Owens on keys, along with a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a horn player and three backup singers. At one point, the backup singers take center stage to showcase their own vocal talents with covers of soul songs such as Aretha Franklin’s “Respect.”

Adding another layer of entertainment to “2 Kings” are the five backup dancers, who perform choreographed numbers during and between most of the songs.

From athletic breakdancing and the zombie dance scene from “Thriller” to poodle skirts for “Blue Suede Shoes” and prison stripes for “Jailhouse Rock,” the dance moves and costume changes serve to enhance the production.

If You Go

What: “2 Kings”

When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays, through Jan. 10

Where: Harrah’s Reno, Sammy’s Showroom

Cost: $29.50-$40.50



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The Music of Michael Jackson



Join guest artist Chester Gregory, conductor Brent Havens and the HSO for an evening filled with fabulous music spanning 40 years of Michael Jackson’s influential and celebrated career.  Get ready to sing and moonwalk along to the hits, from the Jackson 5 to Thriller and beyond, including ABC, I’ll Be There, Beat It, Rock With You, The Way You Make Me Feel, and more.

Saturday, February 28, 2015, Mortensen Hall, 7:30pm

Chester Gregory


Chester Gregory, Jr. was born in Gary, Indiana to steel mill worker, Chester Gregory, Sr., and school teacher, Edith Gregory. Growing up in the same hometown as Michael Jackson, greatly inspired “Chess” to become an artist.

Chester’s vocal range and acting prowess afforded him the lead role in Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theatre’s production of The Jackie Wilson Story, for which he received major acclaim. The Jackie Wilson Story culminated at New York’s Apollo Theater and received rave reviews from the New York Times, which reported: “There is essentially one reason – and it’s a very good one – to see The Jackie Wilson Story, and that is the star: Chester Gregory.”

This award-winning role gave him the opportunity to sing for the legendary “King of Pop,” Michael Jackson, in 2003. Jackson gave Chess a standing ovation for his performance that night, and a week later Chester booked his debut Broadway role as Seaweed in the Tony Award Winning musical Hairspray.

Chester’s other credits include principal roles in Tarzan, Cry-Baby, Dreamgirls and Sister Act. After garnering acclaim, Chester produced and starred in a more intimate look into the life of Jackie Wilson in “The Eve of Jackie.” He has received numerous awards including the Joseph Jefferson and NAACP Theatre Award.

Aside from acting, Chester worked on numerous albums and mixtapes before creating a buzz with his June 7, 2008 release, “In Search of High Love.” In 2014 he completed his national tour with Sister Act and is in the studio preparing his latest project, TRIFECTA.


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Barry Manilow Duet Album: Refused By Frank Sinatra’s Estate And Couldn’t Find The Right Song To Sing With Michael Jackson

Sources: Contact Music | All Things Michael

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Veteran entertainer Barry Manilow had to scrap plans to include a collaboration with the late Frank Sinatra on his new duets album after failing to obtain permission from the crooner’s estate.

The Mandy singer’s new album, My Dream Duets, features Manilow singing with a number of late legends, including Louis Armstrong, Andy Williams and Whitney Houston, but he couldn’t get clearance to sing with Sinatra, because the Rat Pack legend’s family are preparing to release a new project of their own to mark what will be the singer/actor’s 100th birthday next year (15).

Manilow explains, “Sinatra didn’t make the list because they wouldn’t give me permission to do it! This (coming) year is the 100th birthday and they’re putting out a big Cd box, so I couldn’t get permission to do it.”

Manilow also had to abandon his hopes of harmonising with Michael Jackson because he couldn’t find the right song, until it was too late.

He adds, “The only other one I should have done then was Michael Jackson. I tried, I listened to all of the wonderful Michael uptempo things and that didn’t sound good with me, but I didn’t think about Ben… I would’ve done Ben, it could’ve been a good duet.”


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