After a first appearance in the United Arab Emirates in June 2011 in Abu Dhabi, Thriller Live came back in Dubai this time for a residence of 7 shows. In order to promote the event, Dubai eye radio set up a phone interview of Britt Quentin on the day the cast was about to leave for Middle East.
Dubai was the second stop of Thriller Live 2 weeks tour in Middle East, after Kuwait. While this region of the world is becoming more and more opened to Western culture, prestigious shows from all over the world are now touring there. And this year, Thriller Live was one of them!
As often when new cities are toured, some cast members are interviewed by local media. As the resident director, Britt Quentin is highly solicited. That time again he was the contact of Dubai eye radio, talking to Mark Lloyd for “The Night Shift” program. Covering all major events occurring in Dubai, Thriller Live is reviewed by his questions about performing in Dubai for the first time. The interview also covers more classic topics like cast members, audience’s reactions to the show, Britt Quentin’s past and current career and some details about how and why the show is regularly renewed.
You can listen to the interview of Britt Quentin for Thriller Live in Dubai done by Mark Lloyd for Dubai eye on Omny.fm website. Below is the transcription of it.
An eclectic group of performers
– Mark Lloyd: Welcome back to the Night Shift. We’re here at Dubai opera in brief anticipation for a show coming from the west end from the 26th to the 30th of March. That show is Thriller Live. We have the resident director of that show: Britt Quentin, joining us on the line right now. Britt, thanks for taking some time out to chat to us. Just describe a little bit about the show, about the cast that is going to be coming to Dubai.
– Britt Quentin: The show is a celebration of Michael’s music. We cover everything from when he was just a little boy with the Jackson 5 almost up to his more recent material. It’s a celebration of his music. There is a lot of dancing, there is a lot of singing, there is a live band. It’s an incredible live show. It feels more like a Michael Jackson’s concert but not really a musical. There are 4 singers, someone who plays Michael Jackson. There is a kid who plays young Michael Jackson. It’s a big concert celebration of his music.
– Mark Lloyd: That was a big shoes to fill playing especially the young Michael Jackson when he first burst onto the scene with such a voice. Tell me about the actors that you’ve got playing him.
– Britt Quentin: We have a couple coming with us on this trip. They both have been with the show for almost a year now I think. They’re both incredible. They both have amazing voices. They definitely studied Michael. We have a little Michael Jackson school where we send them before they get into the show. They studied very well. They listen to a lot to his music, learn a lot of the moves of from when Michael was that age. They’re well prepared.
What to expect with Thriller Live show
– Mark Lloyd: Tell me about the show in the west end, where it’s performed in London and how will is it received by the British theater goers?
– Britt Quentin: The west end is an area where the tracks are performed all over the world because of this replication and things like that. We’ve got people from Europe, the States, Australia, everywhere. Everybody seems to really enjoying it. We’ve just celebrated 10 years in the west end actually a few month ago. Everyone seems to love it because I think his music was so universal and touched people no matter where you were from or what you age is, no matter what your cultural, social background is so it’s very very well received.
– Mark Lloyd: As well as the music side of it, dance is definitely going to be a big thing. Are we going to be seeing the moonwalk? Are we going to be seeing the lean in Smooth Criminal? Will those are part of the show?
– Britt Quentin: You will see all of it. It would not be a Michael Jackson show without showing that. That’s what everybody is looking for. We are trying to capture all of that on a stage production. Basically we are doing a lot of his music videos on stage. The audience remembers the outfit from the video. So yes: it’s all in there.
Britt Quentin’s journey to Thriller Live
– Mark Lloyd: Tell me a bit about yourself because I know you’ve been a musician since you were a little child as well, I think 6 years old, was when you were first grabbing a microphone! You’ve also ventured into classical music.
– Britt Quentin: I did. I’ve been singing my entire life, literally my entire life. I’m classically trained, both as a vocalist and as an instrumentalist, I’m a violinist first, my first love. Music has been part of my life nonstop since that 6 years old. There never really been a time in my life when I was not involved with music.
– Mark Lloyd: And you’ve been on the stage with some pretty big names: Stevie Wonder, Babyface, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, Kenny G: some really top-notch musicians there.
– Britt Quentin: Yes, I’ve been very blessed, very privileged!
– Mark Lloyd: Tell me how you got into the role of becoming the director for Thriller Live. What led you to that? What led you to the UK?
– Britt Quentin: I auditioned for the show about almost 10 years ago. I started in the show as an understudy, so one of the singers. After about a year into it, I was offered the position of being the resident director which I took. I guess the director of the show, Gary Lloyd, has seen something in me and he thought that I could do that job.
Performing at Dubai opera
– Mark Lloyd: What have you heard about Dubai opera as a venue? It’s an old theater in the west end and you’re going to be in a brand sparkling new auditorium that is 2 years old. What have you heard about the actual venue itself?
– Britt Quentin: I’ve heard it’s pretty amazing! I’m quite sure one of our dancers did a show there not too long ago and he said it’s pretty amazing. So we are all looking forward to it because most of us never actually performed in Dubai before, even though the tour has been all over the world. It’ll be our first real performance in Dubai so we’re all very excited! We’re leaving today in fact for that part of the world and everybody is very excited!
A constantly renewed show
– Mark Lloyd: When it comes to a favorite song in the show: have you got any special moment or any favorite song that we should lookout for?
– Britt Quentin: The show has changed so much during the years because Michael’s catalog is quite big. So for me, it’s usually whatever the latest addition to the show is. That’s usually my favorite.
– Mark Lloyd: Cause it’s the freshest, yeah?
– Britt Quentin: Exactly! It’s whatever the freshest song is! And right now that for me it’s “Remember the time”. It used to be in the show back in the days, left for several years so we used to make room for other songs and then they put it back in the show just recently, a couple of years ago.
– Mark Lloyd: You have so much material to use: you can drop songs, rest songs and bring other ones in.
– Britt Quentin: Absolutely, we’re doing this all the time. Things come and go over the years. Sometimes it changes just to keep it fresh, sometimes it changes because we feel like maybe the tone is too much like this one so we could make room for something else that we haven’t done yet, maybe another song is coming to the show that we never sang before. It just depends on why we change it but it changes all the time.
– Mark Lloyd: Well Britt, we look forward to seeing you at Dubai opera performing Thriller Live with the rest of your cast! Have a safe journey and we’ll catch you next week!
– Britt Quentin: Thank you very much, we’re looking forward to it.