Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor in Teen Time’s backstage

Thriller Live cast members interviewed for Teen Time's
© Teen Time’s – Thriller Live cast members interviewed for Teen Time’s – From left: Rory Taylor, Alison Hau (Teen Time’s), Britt Quentin

Thriller Live cast has been invited by Radio Television Hong Kong to share their experience in Macau. To this end, Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor are part of Backstage’s programme with Alyson Hau.

As Thriller Live started today his last week of residence at The Parisian Macau, it’s time to join the cast behind the scenes! Alyson Hau helms Teen Time’s programme and comes backstage with various artists. Last week, Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor shared some Thriller Live’s secrets through an interesting and funny radio interview. Obviously Michael Jackson is at the center of these talks. Listen to this interview divided in 5 parts on RTHK’s website, or read its story below.

INTERVIEW – PART 1/5

On this first part, Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor shared their feeling when arriving in Macau and then described costumes they’re wearing on stage.

Alyson Hau: First of all tell us about your experience in Macau so far.

Britt Quentin: It’s been great, it’s been very warm. I’m from Las Vegas so I feel like I’m at home because it’s very hot in Las Vegas as well. Although my hair is not agreeing with me: it’s really humid. Rory doesn’t have to worry about his hair.

Rory Taylor: I’m from Liverpool in England so this is a very different climate. This is tropical.

Alyson Hau: It’s so much fun with you guys. Last week we were hanging out with Cleo and Shaquille. The whole cast is an amazing bunch of people isn’t it?

Britt Quentin: It is. We all get on really well. Lot of us have been together for a really long time. The energy is great. We’re all friends. We have to be: we’re on road together all the time so it’s like one big happy family most of the time…

Rory Taylor: Most of the time!

Alyson Hau: Who is the goofy?

Rory Taylor: Definitely Shaquille.

Britt Quentin: He’s probably one of them for sure. But he doesn’t know it: he doesn’t try to be.

Rory Taylor: It’s just how he is. He’s crazy. Many said that he bounces around. He really does. He’s nuts.

Alyson Hau: I can’t help looking at the costumes: I’m amazed by them. Tell us all about them.

Britt Quentin: You should see the rest of the costumes. We’ve got several that we didn’t bring with us. But a lot of them have been made for us. Obviously Michael was such a fashion icon. His look was so unique. We try to bring some of those iconic Michael-isms in terms of costumes into the show. He has a style that is very distinctive and we do try to bring as much as that into the show as possible.

Alyson Hau: You really did have so many different iconic looks as well, just like Halloween or any other vocation.

Rory Taylor: There is a look for everything with Michael. He obviously had a lot of military way: those military jackets that we’ve got all. A lot have been done in India, and sent over. They weigh a ton. When you get to the end of the show, you sweated the jacket through, they are nothing you felt before your life: they were so heavy. It’s kind of normal to be dressing in those looks because it is so close to how Michael was. He had influences in other things: rock, looks,… On some other kind of outlast stuff that he did, we’re on a rollover, so that’s cool.”

INTERVIEW – PART 2/5

For this second part, Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor focused on their favorites moments in Thriller Live. Next go back to how discovering Michael Jackson’s music had been the triggering factor of their passion for music.

Alyson Hau: I love talking about moments in the shows cause everybody has a different kind of moments that they feel the most. Which is your moment at the Thriller Live?

Britt Quentin: It’s a bit difficult because for Macau we’re doing a version of the show that we had shortened because the actual show is about 2 hours and a half and we’re only doing about 90 minutes. My favorite part of the show is actually a part that we’re not doing in Macau unfortunately. But that’s one of my favorites moments because we’re basically doing an entire album of Michael and it’s mostly disco music and it’s so much fun! And it’s got 2 of my favorite Michael Jackson’s songs in the world which are “Rock with you” and “Get on the floor”. I just love both of those songs so much. Unfortunately, it’s a part of the show that we’re not doing in Macau but you just have to come to London!

Rory Taylor: I think my favorite moment in the show will always be “Man in the mirror” because it’s just about how powerful it is. It really stares up some memories for me. And I think it stares a lot of emotions for a lot of people. It’s just an incredible record anyway and I think the way it’s done in the show really honors the record as much as all the other songs we do. But I think this one in particular is very truly how it should set.

Alyson Hau: Michael Jackson has such an incredible repertoire. Everybody knows every single song. What is the first time that you really recall remembering that “this is my Michael Jackson’s moment”?

Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor interviewed by Alyson Hau for RTHK

Britt Quentin: I think for me, when I was very young, probably “Who’s loving you”. I heard that song after it have been popular – I’m actually much younger than he is. Down the road when I heard that song, I was just kind of… “Wow! Oh my Godness!”. I think up to that point of my life people had compared me to him so much. I kind of didn’t want to have anything to do with it cause I didn’t want to be compared to anybody, didn’t want to be compared to him, bla bla bla. And actually I must have played this song about 20 times in a row and so “Wow! This guy is pretty amazing! Wow! I kind of wanna be like him!”. So for me that was sort of the departing point once I realized the genius that he was. I pulled all of those different feelings out that I had aside about being compared to him. Then it was almost like an honor that people were comparing me to him so that was a moment for me.

INTERVIEW – PART 3/5

In this third session, Rory Taylor explained how discovering Michael Jackson’s music had been the triggering factor of his passion for music. Then, Britt Quentin clarified which special features are set for the Macau version of Thriller Live.

Alyson Hau: Michael Jackson has such an incredible repertoire. Everybody knows every single song. What is the first time that you really recall remembering that “this is my Michael Jackson’s moment”?

Rory Taylor: I was about 7 years old and I saw this album. It had a spray painted title on the side and it was “Bad”. I picked it up and I had no idea who this person was. It was this image that instantly hit me and I had to play the record. I played it and I played it again. It was just the most memorizing thing. I didn’t want to hear anything else. I just wanted to listen to this guy’s voice and I asked my mum and dad about him: “Who is this guy? Does he write his music?”. They showed me videos. I remember them taping the Brit awards and the famous MTV awards video. My mum and dad taped that for me because it was obviously in the United States and I was in the UK. So I had to watch it just before I went to school. I was like “I can’t wait until I go home”.

And like Britt said, I started performing very young. I was probably 7 or 8 when I started performing a lot. I’m one of 4 brothers, so very much like the Jacksons we performed together all the time. We didn’t have the dancers like the way they did but we were playing our instruments. We kind of got compared to the Jacksons as well. It is an honor to be compared to him and his brothers. They’re an incredible band. It inspired me to keep going: I wanted to be this young Michael.

Alyson Hau: Let’s talk about Thriller Live and the production itself. I know especially for Britt you’re very involved in the direction and not just being in the cast. So tell us about what special about the Macau version.

Britt Quentin: We’ve really tried to just focus on the big hits. Obviously in a bigger version of the show you have “Up and down”,… Like a journey from the time, from his childhood old way up to the point that we lost him. For Macau, we really tried to focus on his big hits: the songs that everybody will know, everybody can sing along to. We’ve only got 90 minutes to do that.

INTERVIEW – PART 4/5

This second to last part is focused on how being in Thriller Live Macau is challenging compared to the west end version. Britt Quentin also explained how they got ready to give high quality shows every evening, or even twice a day.

Alyson Hau: How about the challenges for performing this particular production. What’s the most challenging part for you?

Britt: Doing all those big iconic numbers in a very short matter of time.

Rory: In this version of the show, it’s hard to gage your energy levels: when you have to sit back to make sure you can get through the next bit. You do really have to regulate your energy throughout the show. It’s so short, it’s punchy. For us as performers, there aren’t as many rest moments as it would be in the full show.

Alyson Hau: Especially in the week end, you guys do 2 shows a day. How do you do it?

Britt: With a prayer! It takes practice. We rehearsed for a few days in London before we left. We landed on a Monday night, we took the ferry for Macau from Hong Kong, got here about 8 o’clock on a Monday night and 10 o’clock Tuesday morning we were rehearsing. We rehearsed most of the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, we had to take the show whole day on Thursday and we opened on Friday. But the reason we did that is to build up that stamina, because we knew it’s going to be a compact show with all of these 18 numbers. We had rehearsed and practiced that stamina that Rory was talking about, otherwise we would all been flat on the flour.

Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor interviewed by Alyson Hau for RTHK

Rory: As we’re doing a more compact version of the show, I was like “That will be easier”. But I see it’s not at all and I think for the dancers especially: they’re not having the time just to sit down and rest themselves for a second before they get back. They’re going the all way through. Actually I think you can feel the performance when you watch the show: the energy coming from stage. I’ve never seen anything like it, I’ve never seen any other performance that captures that amount of energy in a way the show does.

INTERVIEW – PART 5/5

This interview of Britt Quentin and Rory Taylor is coming to an end with a few words about what they’re expecting from the audience and how they’re getting ready for every show.

Alyson Hau: We heard from Cleo and Shaquille last week, that the audience also needs to wear comfortable shoes cause they will be pretty much a part of the performance as well. Is that what you want to see from the stage?

Britt Quentin: Definitely. The show is like a concert and if you would go to a concert, when your favorite song came you usually get up and dance around. You’re having a great time: it’s like a big party. That’s what the show is like: it’s not a musical. It’s like a concert: it’s a tribute show. It actually fuels us when we see people get up and dance around, or even just singing along or the clap in their hands. It just gives us that energy back which then fit them, more energy which then fit us. It really becomes an experience: we want people to experience the show and have an essence of what Michael was able to do for all of those years. If we can do that even just a tiny bit, then I think that we’ve accomplished what we set up to do.

Alyson Hau: How do you guys get ready before the show?

Rory Taylor: It depends what mood I’m in really. Most of the time, I’ll be just going around like normal, speaking to the guys of the band. We’re sitting and chatting usually about politics (laughs), talking about also the stuff. Sometimes it can be hard to really focus your head into doing the show. So you need to just have a quiet moment: get yourself prepared and ready to go. I don’t think I usually do most of the iconest things. If I’ve got 5 minutes ready to go, I prepare my voice and then just ready to get going.

Britt Quentin: For me I need a couple of minutes to just be quiet, before every show. Even if it’s just sitting there. I have to flatten my hair everytime for the show, even if it’s just bad. I have to sit and just be silent for a minute, just to get in the zone. Sometimes with the pressure of being a resident director my life can be a bit chaotic: all the way up until we hit the stage. I just need a couple of minutes to just be quiet and focus so that I don’t get up there and make a fool of myself. And we also do physical warmup, vocal warmup, something like that. But for me, I need that quiet time.

Alyson Hau: We’re coming close to Halloween. If you would to pick a Michael Jackson look for this Halloween, which one would you go for?

Britt Quentin: Personally I love “Remember the time”. That’s one of my favorite Michael Jackson’s songs. I love the look that he wears in that video which he also performed live with a very similar costume. What a cool look! He hadn’t really done anything like that before: the long sleeve gold sparkling shirt with the pants. Such a cool look! That was the first time we’d seen him with that hair. So I’d probably do that.

Rory Taylor: I think I would go for something more military. I got married recently and I was looking for a suit to wear. I showed my wife all these things and she was saying “I mean you can but…”. So I backed down and I just wore some boots as an homage to Michael on my wedding day. But I think some military stuff is just amazing.

© Audio & photos: Teen Time – Backstage with Thriller Live

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