Michael Jackson was a good actor
In Michael Jackson's footsteps
What would Michael Jackson have thought of a music show that tries to imitate his look down to the last detail? About actors and a band who want to sing and play their works true to the original? Would a show that just wanted to be close to the original have convinced the perfectionist? "Beat it! The show about the King of Pop" dares to try it, which premiered on Wednesday evening in the Theater am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin.
How do you recreate the King of Pop who changed pop music forever? Producer Oliver Forster has decided on two actors. "It is a great honor and a pleasure for me to play him," says Dantiano Goodman, who plays the adult Michael and gives him his voice.
Away from his brothers and the Jackson 5
But first it's Koffi Missah's turn, the young Michael Jackson. He sits in front of the Apollo Theater in New York with a flat cap and jeans. A few hours later he was to make the breakthrough as the singer of the Jackson 5, together with his four brothers - at the age of just eleven. At that time, Michael's brother Jermaine Jackson, who traveled from the USA especially for the premiere, was still on stage with him. That should be over soon, because Michael was getting further and further away from his brothers.
And so the youngster dances on stage in Berlin with his role models, with John Travolta, James Brown or Charlie Chaplin. They dance with him like figures of light until he finally overtakes them. He then takes the white glove out of a suitcase, his later trademark on his right hand.
Little biography, many charts
From this rebirth, it is Dantiano Goodman who mimes Jackson. Only Billy Jean can follow, the song that has so many legends about. Who is this woman whom Michael, then 24 years old, sings about? The show does not solve puzzles of this kind, uses biographical scenes sparingly and concentrates on imitating the King of Pop down to the last detail. It's a hit parade where every chord sits and the fake Michael moves as if he were merging with the music. This culminates in the moon walk, the unique dance step with which Goodman glides backwards without moving his upper body. The illusion is almost perfect.
A Jackson performance would be hard to imagine without "Thriller", the song whose video heralded the era of music videos. The ingredients are cemetery fog and Dantiano Goodman in the red suit. Michael tames zombies by dancing, making choreography out of the stacked movements. He spent a long time rehearsing how this works with the choreographers Alex Burgos, Betty Sturm and Detlef Soost in order to get as close as possible to the original. "With Thriller, Michael created a completely new experience by combining steps on the sounds," says Soost.
The real Jackson
His skin disease, doom, and allegations of child abuse are only marginally covered by the show. It is a positive and a sad image that should remain of Michael Jackson. One last time he covets with the "Earth Song". A tree of light grows behind him until the King of Pop collapses in front of everyone's eyes and his heartbeat falls silent.
Would MJ have liked his staged life? His brother Jermaine is certain that evening: "That was fantastic! There is nothing better than celebrating my brother's birthday with good music." Jermain Jackson judged the performance as follows: "I think that was one of the best Michael shows I have ever seen."
Also in Heilbronn?
On April 23, 2019, "Beat it!" run in harmony in Heilbronn. It is still unclear whether this will happen, because an injunction is pending against the organizer Cofo. Michael Jackson's estate trustees require authorization to be obtained from you. Cofo managing director Oliver Forster disagrees. He had obtained approval from Gema, as is customary with tribute shows.
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