Thriller—Live Casts Three 13-Year-Olds to Share Role of Young Michael Jackson | Playbill

News Thriller—Live Casts Three 13-Year-Olds to Share Role of Young Michael Jackson
Following a nationwide search and open-call auditions that were held in the West End on Nov. 23, the producers of Thriller—Live have announced the three 13-year-old boys who have won the role of the young Michael Jackson in the show.

As previously announced, the production will begin performances at the Lyric Theatre Jan. 2, 2009, prior to an official opening Jan. 21. The limited run will play through April 12.

The three boys who will share the role are Layton Williams and Sterling Williams, who have both previously appeared in West End musicals, and Kieran Alleyne, who is making his professional stage debut.

Layton Williams was the first black Billy Elliot and the second longest-running star in the show's history; he just ended his run in the show Nov. 30. He also starred in the recent BBC2 comedy "Beautiful People" by Jonathan Harvey. He lives in Bury, Lancashire.

Sterling Williams has previously played young Simba in The Lion King in the West End but has been in full time education for the past year. He lives in Mitcham in Surrey and attends school in Kingston.

Kieran Alleyne is a newcomer from Leicester, and his only prior stage experience was playing Michael Jackson in a school tribute production, called Thriller. He was discovered through the open audition for Thriller—Live. The show, which pays tribute to the musical hits and career of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, has previously enjoyed three U.K. tours as well as engagements in Germany, Holland and Scandinavia.

Billed as a spectacular, high-octane show specially created to celebrate the career of the "world's greatest entertainer and undisputed King of Pop," the show's performance schedule will include two Sunday showings every week at 3 and 7 PM, as well as Tuesday-Saturday evening performances at 8 PM and an additional Saturday matinee at 4 PM.

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.

In a press statement, producer Nicol of Flying Music said, "Thriller – Live is an uplifting, feel-good show with incredible choreography and sensational songs that everyone knows and loves — it's just the sort of escapist entertainment people need to take their minds off how tough life is at the moment. Thriller – Live has high production values, a large company on stage and a live band — and it delivers high class entertainment that is suitable for everyone from 8 to 80. It's obvious to us from the recent early closing of West End musicals, cancellation of several planned UK tours, and the number of ticket discounts and promotions, that money is extremely tight and a lot of the current shows are struggling to fill their theatres. We want to make sure that Thriller – Live is in the price bracket of as many people as possible."

Paul Curran of Sony BMG Music Entertainment UK, added, "The show is a celebration of one of the greatest music catalogues in history. We are thrilled to be involved and there are obviously many promotional and marketing opportunities between the show and our catalogue."

Songs that will be heard in the show include "I Want You Back," "I'll Be There," "Show You The Way To Go," "Can You Feel It," "Rock With You," "She's Out Of My Life," "Thriller," "Beat It," "Ben," "ABC," "Man in the Mirror," "Dirty Diana," "Billie Jean" and "Earth Song."

The production was originally conceived and created by executive director Adrian Grant, a long-time associate of Jackson's and author of "Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary." It is directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd (who has previously worked with Leona Lewis, Will Young, Gareth Gates, Emma Bunton, Robbie Williams, Pink, Anastacia, Lemar, Rachel Stevens, Kelly Clarkson and Girls Aloud) and features additional choreography by five-time MTV Award-winning LaVelle Smith Jnr. and Kerys Nathan.

To book tickets contact the box office at 0844 412 4661 or visit

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