The launch of the world tour took place far from the UK (in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) and so did the start of the European leg of Thriller Live tour which was held in Lausanne, Switzerland. Not sure if it was due to the holiday season or because the show was hosted in a French-speaking region for the first time in many years, but the atmosphere at La Salle Metropole was super festive and truly warm. Cold but welcoming Switzerland!
Introducing Thriller Live to Swiss media
A few weeks before Thriller Live stopped in Lausanne, Britt Quentin introduced the show to a Swiss media: “La tribune de Genève”.
About Michael Jackson, the resident director of the tour shows his admiration for the King of Pop through the following words (translated from French): “Michael revolutionized pop music for a period of life, quite unlike any other artist. He was at the top as a singer, composer, producer. He has created new dance moves and has been a pioneer in music videos and mega shows. I can’t see any equivalent in terms of influence or global artist.“
On the subject of performing in this tribute show to Michael Jackson, Britt Quentin confirms that performers always receive a warm welcome from audiences anywhere in the world: “There is no country in which the audience do not respond. In London, we can perform in front of an audience mostly composed of curious foreign tourists, and the day after, English fans who know every note.“
A mostly renewed cast
After the end of the 10-year anniversary tour in July at Newmarket nights, Thriller Live tour cast has been mainly renewed. Only Kieran Alleyne (MJ), Britt Quentin (lead vocalist + resident director) and Danyul Fullard (dancer + MJ cover) have been staying in the touring production.
Casts renewal is often the opportunity to see former Thriller Live team members coming back and so it’s happening this time. Vocalists Jason Brock (from previous touring and west end productions), Shaquille Hemmans and Adriana Louise are back ; joined by Joey James (who made his Thriller Live debut sooner this year in the west end) and Ceanté Harris.
About the dancers, previous cast members Tony-Ben Azouz and Ryan Josiah will share Thriller Live stage with a newly recruited team: Molly Francis, Joshua De La-Garde, Natorii Illidge, Ondreea Kitching, Kia Pantazis, Eva Philips, Rhianna Richards, Nicolas De Souza and Jordan Jules-Stock.
A new roles distribution
Each cast member is bringing his own personality while singing MJ songs, not just settling for imitating him.
Adriana Louise and Ceanté Harris are sharing the leading lady role, each of them in their own style. Ceanté is bringing soul to MJ songs while Adriana is excelling in giving character and strong vocals to the King of Pop hits.
On the men vocalist side, Britt Quentin is back to performing the soul part of the show. Jason Brock is playing the rocker role. Joey James is performing another man lead part including songs like “Remember the time”, “Wanna be startin’ somethin'” or “Dancing machine”,… Shaquille Hemmans is playing all roles as an understudy.
Finally, Kieran Alleyne is still portraying MJ and his distinctive moves in this new tour. Being one of the youngest to perform the main role, his first tour last year definitely gave him assurance as well as a dancing getting more and more accurate.
Outstanding freshness, energy and humility
The 2019-2020 touring cast is newly formed, however almost all vocalists are used to performing this show – as former members of Thriller Live companies either in past tours or in the west end. Only Ceanté Harris made her debut in the tribute show to MJ as part of the current production. Hard to notice though as she performed with a real ease alongside the other vocalists.
The new touring company seem to have found their footing within a new team quite fast! Having only performed all together during a fortnight residency in Saudi Arabia, it is still a fresh cast that Swiss fans of Michael Jackson went to watch in Lausanne. A fresh cast that is outstanding with energy and dynamism, easily spread in the whole theatre and 100% received by audience members standing on their feet.
Performing the King of Pop music is a privilege for most artists still 10 years after his death. Being able to sing and dance MJ songs undoubtedly requires strong technical skills combined with thorough and regular training. That said and important to mention, the humility of the whole cast is also appearing during the whole performance.
Lausanne was only the first stop of the European leg of Thriller Live tour. Check out all other cities that are scheduled this year.