In October 2019, Gary Lloyd released an autobiography “My life with Michael – 10 years of Thriller Live”. A way for all fans of the show to get an insight from the inside! Not only a backstage look at the show honoring Michael Jackson’s music, Gary Lloyd’s account is also a precious “behind the scenes” narrative of casting processes.
The author has been choreographing and directing the show for more than 10 years. A time during which he has been experiencing so many unforgettable and unbelievable moments with Thriller Live.
A historical day for the world and for Thriller Live
After a foreword written by Adrian Grant, producer of the show, the reader is immersed in what surely is one of the saddest moment for Thriller Live and for music lovers. The book is starting with the historical day of when Michael Jackson passed away. Ironically this tragic day certainly contributed to the long-term success of the musical. Indeed it has been one of the last way to experience MJ’s music live.
From the way Gary Lloyd had learnt about MJ’s passing to how the cast handled the first show following his death by way of the manner the Lyric theater became a shrine to the King of Pop : the first chapter is full of details about this very special but sorrowful day.
Thriller Live through the eyes of its director
“My life with Michael – 10 years of Thriller Live” is an account full of details, covering the past decade and more. Not only summing up the memories of Gary Lloyd’s, it contains many notes from the past, capturing emotions and facts directly when they were experienced.
The beginning of the book is introducing the author’s youth and passion for dance. It already includes many references to Michael Jackson, a model for him from a young age. This connection never left the choreographer, pursuing his legacy.
Following naturally, the major part of Gary Lloyd’s autobiography is about Thriller Live. Starting from the creation of the show to its more recent years in London and touring the world, these pages are providing a fresh look at the successful musical. It brings the reader through the processes of keeping the show running on a daily basis. It also contains a large focus on the Brazil tour in 2013, highlighting a major culture shock.
The last part of the book is dedicated to multiple short stories: casting processes, anecdotes from many cast or crew members and injuries on stage.
Interviews with previous and current cast members
Gary Lloyd’s book also contains conversations between the author and a few past or current cast members. The discussions are focused on performers that have marked the show for various reasons.
The first of them is Ricko Baird, who has been the first adult playing Michael Jackson during more than 3 years. Another performer from years ago is Mitchell Zhangazha. He faced the difficult challenge of performing the young MJ the night the King of Pop died. And the last artist from the past to appear in the conversations is Zoe Birkett. Now well known in the theater world, she was the leading lady in the first tour and some others more.
Gary Lloyd also interviewed current cast members who have reached records of their own. Kieran Alleyne will forever be part of Thriller Live history. He has been the first (and only as of now) young MJ to come back and play MJ as an adult years later. Finally, Haydon Eshun, is also holding another huge record. He is the longest-running male lead in the west end thanks to his role in Thriller Live.
A contribution from Britt Quentin
Beyond all the backstage insights about the show, the book contains a few mentions of Britt Quentin’s years with Thriller Live. Short stories told by Gary Lloyd and Sharon Speirs, the west end company manager, refers to him. They remind us to what extent he is a high level performer, trained for being able to give a high quality show 8 times a week.
However the main contribution from Britt Quentin to “My life with Michael – 10 years of Thriller Live” is via some anecdotes he is remembering for the reader. Throughout 10+ years spent with the show, no doubt that he has tons of unforgettable memories. Britt is sharing some of them in the “Looking through the window” chapter.
The most traumatic experience certainly took place in Macau (summer 2017). At that time and in less than 1 month, the touring cast faced a local sickness and the aftermaths of 2 powerful and devastating typhoons! Britt Quentin also highlights some difficulties of being the resident director for a show performed worldwide. In some circumstances, matching the local culture can be a real challenge. He mentions some specific examples from South Korea and Kuwait. Britt also describes technical issues that certainly occurred much more often in reality than written in the book. Finally, he shares his best memories singing in front of the most welcoming, moving and responding audiences.
Ordering “My life with Michael – 10 years of Thriller Live”
If you have enjoyed Thriller Live show, you will surely like reading Gary Lloyd’s autobiography. The stories about what is happening backstage are uncommon and holding the attention of the reader… During the few hours of reading, we feel like having joined what they call “the Thriller Live family”!
You can buy “My life with Michael – 10 years of Thriller Live” by Gary Lloyd in most of the bookstores, borrow it at your favorite library or order it online.