Sources: The Stage – By Georgia Snow| All Things Michael
Since joining the musical Thriller Live in 2009, Tyrone Lee has toured the show to more than 20 countries and is currently a resident lead vocalist in the West End cast. He has also released his debut album, Invitation.
Why do you think the show has enjoyed such long-term success?
I think people love the music, and the show aims to give people that Michael Jackson feeling. The fans of Michael Jackson can come to the show and feel that essence of what he was about. A lot of people come back again and again. Then there are lots of people that want to go for a good night out. In both cases I think Thriller delivers that.
How does your music background fit in with the show?
The way that this particular production is done, it is quite like a concert. In fact, it is more a concert show than a stage play, so my background as a singer fits in quite nicely. We are encouraged to perform and have our own personality, not to really try to copy Michael Jackson but be ourselves. The dance element was completely new to me. When I got the part my sister warned me that I would have to dance, but I had no idea. The producers kept saying it would be fine so I guess they had more confidence in me. Over the years I have grown into the dancer they wanted, I think – I got there eventually.
What other kind of work have you done in your career?
I like having the balance between different types of jobs. I have released an album as a solo artist, as well as doing Thriller and touring with other artists. I find that quite refreshing. I’ll go from singing with Thriller to being on tour with Blur, go back to Thriller and then tour with Emeli Sande. I have done really contrasting jobs in that respect and I appreciate the different disciplines. On a conventional music stage there is quite a lot of improvisation and you are encouraged to pull out new creative aspects, but with Thriller it is quite disciplined. It is good to go back and forth.
Has working in theatre influenced other parts of your career?
As well as singing and dancing, I do a lot of narration in the show. In that regard it helps me engage with the audience and speak to them. In my own shows it has built that confidence to address my audience and give some information about myself, or just speak to them. That has been really helpful.
Would you like perform in other stage shows in the future?
I have always looked up to singers, like Michael Jackson, that really perform their music. I never thought of myself as a theatre performer and when the Thriller production came around it was something very new to me – I didn’t know what to expect. Now that I have done this, it has opened my eyes to the possibility of doing more theatre. I have definitely learnt a thing or two from this.
Thriller Live is running at the Lyric Theatre. The album, Invitation, is available now.
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