I’ve never been a huge Michael Jackson fan but I’ve always respected his talent and liked many of his songs. From his career as a child performer with his brothers in The Jackson Five to his solo career and the greatest selling album of all time Thriller, there’s no denying that the man was an icon and earned his title The King of Pop. Performing a tribute to a star of this magnitude is no easy task but Showtime Australia really nails it with their Michael Jackson HIStory production and South African Dantanio Goodman as the King of Pop.
The show covers Jackson’s entire career and all the popular hits you would expect to hear performed including some Jackson Five numbers. The production featured a four piece band, four dancers and a backup singer. The costume changes were many, I lost count during the show, and the production itself was top notch. During the Jackson Five songs, the four dancers wore afro wigs and colourful bell bottomed suits to bring the audience back to the early 70’s. Other choreographed numbers featured gangster suits, military uniforms with helmets, street gang styled outfits and many others. The show’s guitarist and musical director wore a Slash outfit during the entire show. Slash performed many times with Jackson on recordings, in videos and live performances. Besides the multiple costume changes and tightly choreographed numbers, the stage featured three large LED screens showing various photos and videos of the real Jackson plus various themed images to go with each song.
All of these production elements, the choreography, the lighting, the costumes, were great, but none of this would matter without a great Michael Jackson and Dantanio was perfect! Beginning singing and dancing at the age of nine and practicing to his brother’s Michael Jackson cassette until it was broken, he always dreamed of touring the world and performing. Now three decades later he’s living his dream and he’s one of the best out there. He has the dance moves down, the mannerisms and gestures and most importantly the voice. I have to admit I felt a little emotional during a couple of the songs, the voice was spot on.
His interaction with the audience was fantastic, imploring them to get up and dance during several tunes and kneeling at the front of the stage and singing directly to several people in the crowd. At one point he leapt high off the stage into an aisle and walked through the audience while singing. During another song he brought a young girl on stage and sang to her, kneeling and kissing her hand afterward. Complimenting Dantanio was backup singer/duet partner Giselle Van Grinsven who did a great job filling in the vocals where needed. Of course the best was saved for last and for the encore with Thriller, complete with zombies and werewolves.
There are plenty of tribute acts out there but this is one of the best. I would highly recommend seeing this show for its great production and the authenticity of the sound. This show is one of several shows produced by Showtime, a group of international companies specializing in tribute shows based in Australia but with affiliate companies around the world. For more information on other shows produced by Showtime visit their website at http://showtime.net.au/. Visit http://www.chryslertheatre.com/ for a listing of upcoming shows.
All photos by Dan Boshart