Who’s Bad Coming To Holly Heart Theatre

Sources: The Telegram – By Tara Bradbury | All Things Michael

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Who’s Bad bringing world-famous Michael Jackson tribute show to town this weekend

If you’re going to make a career as a Michael Jackson tribute artist, you’re setting yourself up for some work.

It’s something the members of Who’s Bad have been working on for years, even before the King of Pop’s untimely death on June 25, 2009. At that time, the tribute band had already been together for about five years, and had a show in Washington booked for the very next day. That show turned into two back-to-back sold-out shows, with media from around the world attending.

Who’s Bad has since gone on to tour around the world, sharing the stage with the likes of Aretha Franklin, the Backstreet Boys and Boys II Men, and were invited to play London’s O2 arena — which Jackson himself was scheduled to end his career with his “This is It” concert series — in 2010. This weekend they’ll bring their tribute to Jackson and celebration of four decades of his music to Holy Heart Theatre in St. John’s.

Along with a full band and backup dancers, Who’s Bad actually includes two Jackson impersonators: New York native Taalib York, a lifelong fan and accomplished singer, dancer and choreographer, and Joseph Bell (a.k.a. JoBel), a native of Connecticut who joined the band in 2007. His career in Who’s Bad was meant to be, he says; so meant to be, “I couldn’t have avoided it if I tried.”

Joseph was Jackson’s middle name and the name of his father — also the name of Bell’s father. Both Jackson’s mother and Bell’s mother are named Catherine. Bell’s got a high register, like Jackson, and throughout his life has had many coincidences that brought him to work with people connected to Jackson: vocal coaches, choreographers, dancers, a hairdresser.

“I wasn’t trying to fashion myself around him, but people were automatically picking me out as an artist to somewhat represent him,” explained Bell, who appeared in the TV movie “The Jacksons: An American Dream.”

“One day I got a call from an agent about Who’s Bad and for a minute it was kind of a surprise. It was really, really great for me, and turned out to be very, very natural for me to do.”

Where York had spent years honing his imitation skills when it comes to Jackson, Bell had not, and admits it takes a lot of work and a lot of practice. He worked with “This Is It” choreographer Travis Payne and dancer/choreographer Frank Gatson (who appeared in the original “Smooth Criminal” video and also works with Beyoncé) to perfect his performance.

It all paid off — on stage, Bell is Jackson, with the precise timing and intricate steps and quick mannerisms of the King of Pop. In leather pants and aviator sunglasses, with long, wet-look hair, Bell and York’s performances are less about being cheesy, more about being authentic.

They both perform at each show, dividing up the songs amongst themselves.

“When we started working together, we chose what our favourite songs were. Michael has covered so much — fast songs, slow songs — and we chose our favourites and the ones we thought we’d be the strongest at. I kind of represent the older Michael.”

Who’s Bad shows cover Jackson’s entire career, from his work with the Jackson 5 to “Love Never Felt So Good,” released posthumously last spring, focusing on the hits everyone will recognize. Bell’s favourites include “Earth Song,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Scream.”

The costumes are just as detailed, and harder to pick a favourite.

“How can you ask me this?” Bell says, laughing. “He had some great ones. That’s what made him an icon.”

Preparing for a show, practice aside, takes some time. Once the guys arrive at a venue, they have close to three hours of make-up and costuming ahead of them. Bell likes to listen to Jackson’s own voice lessons on YouTube while getting ready, and practice along with him.

While Bell acknowledges Jackson’s talent, he says his legend and icon status goes beyond his singing and dancing abilities.

“I don’t think he was from here. He was from someplace else,” he says. “He was a genius with a big heart that had a magic about him and presented and innocence, though he was a brilliant businessman at the same time. Obviously he had such a great talent, but there was a love inside of him that people feel. He projected that.”

Tickets for Who’s Bad at Holy Heart Saturday range from $69.50 to $79.50 (taxes and fees included) and are available at the Holy Heart box office, by calling 579-4424, and online at www.holyhearttheatre.com. Showtime is 8 p.m.

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“The Funny Thing About Me Is That I Actually Can’t Dance,” Says Michael Jackson Tribute Artist

Sources: Wimbledon Guardian – By Louisa Clarence-Smith | All Things Michael

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Ben Bowman has made a career out of impersonating Michael Jackson on stage. But the 28-year-old from Kent has revealed he “actually can’t dance”.

“The funny thing about me and the thing that makes my choreographer’s job quite difficult is that I actually can’t dance so their top dancers learn in one session and it takes me about five”, says the former cafe manager.

“But luckily the one style of dance I have got down is Michael Jackon’s.”

With a decade-long career and national tour ahead of him, he can’t be that bad.

The impersonator, who says he’s “not one of those tribute acts who think they actually are Michael Jackson,” will moonwalk onto the New Wimbledon Theatre stage on Thursday, June 4.

Featuring hits from Thriller, Beat It and Billie Jean, the show will see Bowman transform into a version of Michael Jackson with the help of 10 costume changes.

So what’s a 28-year-old doing dedicating his working life to the late global superstar?

“I grew up with Michael Jackson music and always thought that he was amazing and then I got to see him when I was about seven at Wembley Stadium and that was incredible and started a life-long obsession,” he says.

“I was one of those kids who danced and loved him and when I was 16 I was in a science lesson and my friend asked me about his new song so I sung a bit of it and my friend said I was really good. So it started from there.

“Ten years’ later it’s incredible I am able to make a career out of it.”

But he insists, he is just an ordinary guy off stage. “I have got lots of friends and family. I treat the week as my weekend and go out and party. I’m a normal person.

“The only thing that affects my life is I have got a 1980s mullet hair style which gets a few laughs – but I have a pretty normal life and it’s incredible that I get to do this as a job.”

Jackson Live in Concert; New Wimbledon Theatre, 93 the Broadway; Thursday, June 4, 7.30pm; £22.90 to £23.90; atgtickets.com.

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“Invincible: A Glorious Tribute To Michael Jackson – Meet The Cast

Sources: Prairie Capital Convention Center |SJR – By Ann Pierceall | All Things Michael

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Jeffrey Perez

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 live show is a tribute to Michael’s most beloved songs.

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 much much more!

Invincible: A Glorious Tribute to Michael Jackson,” will perform on Friday, May 29 at 7:30 pm at the Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Illinois.

Jeffrey Perez, who lived in Springfield until the sixth grade, is one of them.

“I don’t ever remember Michael Jackson not being part of my life. He’s my peace. He’s my heaven,” said the 28-year-old performer, who now lives in Phoenix.

Show producer, Darrin Ross, said the tribute isn’t a matter of covering Jackson’s songs, it’s a theatrical production.

Perez, handles the live vocals. Pete Carter will pay tribute to Jackson’s dance moves, something he’s done since he was a child. As an adult, he met with and earned the stamp of approval from Jackson for his efforts.

Darrin Ross, gives high marks to both men.

“It’s amazing to be around these individuals who’ve given their lives to this work,” he said, adding it’s important to pay tribute to Jackson who broke so many barriers. He said Jackson was an innovator on so many different levels, and that’s something he believes “Invincible” demonstrates.

“If you come with an open mind, you’ll be blown away,” Ross said.

Perez said audiences don’t know what to expect when they attend a performance of “Invincible’,” but few leave unaffected.

“I’ve had people cry. I’ve had people scream. Everyone is still grieving,” he said. “We’re all one in those moments.”

The show, Ross said, allows people to “feel and experience the spirit of Michael Jackson.”

“For good or bad, he shook up the world,” he said. “The final message is Michael will always be with us, because he inspired us all.’

Mr. Lavelle M. Smith Jr., longtime Michael Jackson dancer and choreographer, has joined the team as the creative consultant for this years show starting with the June 13th performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. 

*VIP ticket holders with premium seats get a post show meet and greet with the cast. Check for details on the Invincible FB page and on advertisements for each event.*

For more ticket for upcoming shows, see below:

http://www.springfieldpc3.com/events-tickets/invincible.aspx

http://www.njpac.org/events/detail/invincible-a-glorious-tribute-to-michael-jackson

http://www.ticketmaster.com/Invincible-A-Glorious-Tribute-to-Michael-tickets/artist/2087920?tm_link=edp_Artist_Name

http://amarillociviccenter.com/?tribe_events=invincible-a-glorious-tribute-to-michael-jackson

Five Very Important Things We Learned Whilst Being Michael Jackson!

Sources: MTV Music | All Thing Michael

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In a career spanning five decades, Michael Jackson scored countless chart-topping singles, won numerous Grammys and sold over 750 million albums globally. The King of Pop also taught the world how to Moonwalk.

Paying tribute to the legend and to celebrate Amazon Local’s new venture into offering West End tickets, MTV UK were invited to London’s Lyric Theatre, the set of Thriller Live!, to nail the Moonwalk and learn some of MJ’s best moves.

Here are a few things we picked up whilst being Michael Jackson and Moonwalking in general:

1. Stand on your toes, push back with your heel

After a lot of hopeless shuffling and deliberating we finally got the hang of things by thinking twice and taking Michael’s strong advice – stand on your toes, push back with your heel.

2. ‘Billie Jean’ could well be the greatest floorfiller of all time

‘Billie Jean’ is more than just the second single from Michael’s 1982 album Thriller, it’s a universal language capable of transforming dull wedding receptions and birthday parties into the most rocking disco in town.

3. ‘Thriller’ could well be the greatest dance routine of all time

You know the score, the hand clapping, sidestepping, shoulder shimmying and head shaking…

Get it right and you’ll win the crowd over, get it wrong and you’ll most likely be asked to leave the premises!

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4. One glove beats two, always

Whether you’re shooting at gangsters in ‘Smooth Criminal’ or trying to charm an Egyptian queen in ‘Remember The Time’, one sequin covered glove trumps two.

5. We really miss him

Michael Jackson sadly passed away on June 25, 2009, the eve of his 51st birthday, leaving the world in mourning.

The show is a moving homage to the superstar’s legacy and The Lyric’s longest running production ever – currently in it’s seventh year.

Tickets for Thriller Live! and other West End shows are available from the Amazon Local website and app.

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Local Dancers Pay Homage To Michael Jackson In Tribute Show

Sources:  Star Tribute – By | All Things Michael

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Luis Castillo of Woodbury would like to assure you that Billie Jean is not his lover. But he never tires of dancing to her tune.

By day, Castillo works in regulatory compliance at a bank. By night, he dons a single white glove and moonwalks. Using the stage name LC Jackson, he has been impersonating Michael Jackson for 17 years, since he was a ninth-grader at St. Paul Central High School. This weekend, he opens “Legacy! A Tribute to the King of Pop,” at SteppingStone Theatre, with eight backup dancers — including show manager and former school buddy Marques Matthias — and a dozen costume changes.

“Like a lot of ’90s kids, I had a childhood obsession with Michael’s music,” Castillo said. “I just practiced in front of the TV and got involved in talent shows, and surprisingly enough, caught some attention.”

Jackson, who died in 2009, is still revered by thousands of superfans, and tribute shows dedicated to his music and dance moves thrive in Las Vegas and as touring productions. But the “Legacy” show, variations of which have been staged at public and private functions around the region for the past several years, is the only Twin Cites-based version.

“A lot of people say, ‘Why don’t you go to Vegas,’ but some areas are already saturated with that kind of entertainment,” Castillo said. “Here in the Midwest, you don’t see it as much.”

This is the largest “Legacy” show Jackson and Matthias have produced to date, with a record nine performances scheduled. With 22 numbers to get through, some of them medleys or remixes, the cast dances for two straight hours, faithfully replicating Jackson’s concert tours from 1988 through 1997, and tossing in some old Jackson 5 nostalgia for the boomers.

LEGACY:  A Tribute to the King of Pop

What: Michael Jackson tribute featuring impersonator LC Jackson and eight backup dancers.

When: 7:30 p.m. Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat., 3 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Thu. Ends May 31.

Where: SteppingStone Theatre, 55 N. Victoria St., St. Paul.

Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at door, $15 under ages. www.legacymjtribute.com or 612-432-8781.

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Our Children, Our Future Food Program Gets Help From Michael Jackson Tribute Show

Sources: Northern Life.ca –  By Ivan Radisic| All Things Michael

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Billie Jackson and the Prime Time Band emulate the Gloved One himself, Michael Jackson, to benefit Our Children, Our Future in June.

The King of Pop: Michael Jackson Experience Tribute Show hits the stage at the Fraser Auditorium at Laurentian University on June 19. The fundraising concert benefits Our Children, Our Future’s Infant Food Cupboard and Food Security Program.

“Do to increased pressure on our program, we have decided to introduce this event to help raise much needed funds,” said Susan Nicholson, executive director of Our Children, Our Future. “We rely solely on donations and events like this to provide emergency assistance to families of infant formula, milk and diapers along with nutritious food for children and parents within the District of Sudbury and Manitoulin.”

Tickets can be purchased at STC box office or online.

The event is sponsored by Schuster Boyd Mcdonald.

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Upcoming Events For In The Studio With Michael Jackson – The Lab And More!

Sources: Sent by Brad Sundberg – Thank you | All Things Michael

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In The Studio With Michael Jackson is kicking into a very busy couple months. This weekend we will be in Toronto hosting a very unique event called “The Lab.” It will comprise of 90% of our current seminar material, but also some new test segments – including our new two-hour virtual tour of Neverland complete with multi-point surround sound of the ACTUAL sounds I created for Neverland. “The Lab” in Toronto is going to be a lot of fun this Saturday. The Neverland tour is pretty cool, and I’m working on a segment on… oh, I can’t spoil it. See you on Saturday!

In June we will be in Cologne, Germany with Brad Buxer and Michael Prince for a special four-day event detailing our working practices, stories, music and memories. This is nearly sold-out, but a few tickets are still available.

The following weekend I will be in Madrid, Spain (without Brad B and Michael P) for a weekend of “In The Studio With MJ” seminars.

After that we will be in Gary/Chicago, Orlando, Las Vegas and Brazil.

Thanks for your support and enthusiasm!

Keep The Faith –

Brad

www.inthestudiowithmj.com

Thriller Live: Michael Jackson Stage Show Coming To Hull

Sources: Hull Daily Mail | All Things Michael

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The sounds of the King of Pop Michael Jackson are coming to Hull New Theatre later this year with the arrival of Thriller Live.

The stage show puts together a glitzy compendium of Michael Jackson’s many hits including those from world-conquering albums such as Off the Wall (1979) and Thriller (1982).

The performances will take place from Monday, October 26, to Saturday, October 31.

Monday to Friday performances take place at 7.30pm, with shows at 4pm and 8pm on the Saturday.

Tickets, which went on sale on Friday, cost from £20.50 to £30.50.

Visit www.hullcc.gov.uk/hullnewtheatre for more details.

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