By Mark Shenton
16 Feb 2009
The production was originally booking through April 12 only. The show opened officially at the Lyric on Jan. 21, following previews from Jan. 2.
A second Thriller company has simultaneously set out on a 23-venue tour of the U.K. and Europe. It began at Northampton's Derngate Feb. 13 and is now continuing to Newcastle's Tyne Theatre (Feb. 16-21), Southampton's Mayflower Theatre (Feb. 23-28), Edinburgh's Festival Theatre (March 2-7), Liverpool's Empire Theatre (March 9-13), York's Grand Opera House (March 16-18), Blackpool's Grand Theatre (March 19-22), Stoke-on-Trent's Regent Theatre (April 14-18), Bristol's Hippodrome (April 20-25), Woking's New Victoria Theatre (April 27-May 2), Southport Theatre (May 5-6), Buxton's Opera House (May 7-9), Oxford's New Theatre (May 10), Cambridge's Corn Exchange (May 11), Bournemouth's Pavilion Theatre (May 13-16), Carlisle's Sands Centre (June 7) and Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre (July 6-11).
The West End company is led by former 5 Star lead vocalist, songwriter and Brit Award winner Denise Pearson, who is making her West End debut in the show. It also features Ricko Baird, who co-choreographed Jackson's "You Rock My World," and doubled for him in the video. He was also lead dancer alongside Jackson on the award-winning "Dangerous" and on the "Michael Jackson and Friends" tour. Three 13-year-old boys alternate in the role of the young Michael Jackson: Layton Williams (previously the first black Billy Elliot in London), Sterling Williams (Young Simba in The Lion King) and newcomer Kieran Alleyne.
Also in the cast are Roger Wright, who created the role of Simba in the original London cast of The Lion King and played Marvin Gaye in the West End production of Dancing in the Streets; John Moabi (seen in Street Scene at the Young Vic earlier this year); Ben Foster (Doody in the West End production of Grease) and Ashton Russell, with Kamilah Beckles, Ivan Blackstock, Jordan Darrell, Jo Dyce, Christabelle Fields, Elliott James, Earl Perkins, Danni Rothman, Emily Rumbles, Ross Sands, Sean Williams and Yasmin Yazdi.
The West End season is being produced by Paul Walden and Derek Nicol for Flying Music, and Sony BMG Music Entertainment UK in association with Adrian Grant for Key Concerts.
To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4661 or visit www.nimaxtheatres.com/thriller.