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Jackson's "Thriller" headed for Great White Way

Posted by Sarah Rodman  January 26, 2009 04:09 PM

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Broadway may be experiencing a show-closing downturn at the moment but one producer thinks he knows just what will turn things around: a theatrical adaptation of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" album.

Knowing that one album won't quite fill two acts, the musical will also utilize tracks from "Off the Wall." Jackson, states a press release from the Nederlander Organization, "will participate in every aspect of the creative process."

The musical will take off from the movie date/werewolf transformation/dancing zombies "Thriller" video. "I love the idea of making 'Thriller' a musical.  Girl meets boy, they fall in love, boy has big secret, now what..." says producer James Nederlander.

The announcement offered no clue as to when "Thriller" the musical might be making its way to New York. No doubt when the moon is full.

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4 comments so far...
  1. Fantastic idea! This is the Greatest Jackson's work ever! And he deserves to have a musical to bring it to life once more.

    Posted by Styves January 26, 09 06:08 PM
  1. ::laughs:: Wait...give me a moment...let me catch my breath! Really? Michael Jackson's Thriller is the best the Great White Hope has to offer? ::laughs some more::

    Seriously, after the likes of movies with meager successes in the past being turned into the next Great Broadway musical is laughable. Shall we remember the wonderful works released in the last few years such as, “Flashdance”, “Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang”, “The Full Monty” and “High Fidelity” to name a few, that have been transformed into the dismal Broadway musicals they have become? Now I’ll be the first to admit that I have enjoyed these cult-classic movies but having them turned into a Broadway musical was not necessary the best of ideas.

    When these movies turned musical have failed to yield the profits producers longed for, they, The Producers, now resort to eyeing videos made for MTV as the theme of creating that next big success. Granted, I’ll admit that I enjoyed the 80’s and early 90’s music of Michael Jackson, but making Thriller into a full production on the esteem Nederlander Organization’s stage is just simply put, ridiculous. The reason Michael Jackson’s amazing Video-Story worked so well as it did, was because of the director John Landis, Make-Up Extraordinaire artistry of Rick Baker and MJ’s brilliant musical compositions. If you remove any of those 3 elements you’ll end up with wonderful 1980’s music composed by Jacking being performed live to the movie plot of, “Teen Wolf”. Great concept, lousy execution.

    I know this sounds as though I hate Broadway, honest I don’t. I LOVE Broadway and think that the producers, directors, musicians, composers and artist should strive to provide the highest quality of productions available. Sinking to this level of dribble is just an insult to the Musical minded theatre viewer. We need an infusion of new and fresh offerings, not celebrate old ideas that were meager successes found in cult-movie and now MTV-age celluloid past.

    Posted by Gene January 26, 09 06:42 PM
  1. A musical based on a 25-year old song by a has-been child molester? Who thinks of these things? And just because it was a popular 15 minute video doesn't mean it will stretch to play-length without falling apart. Just ask those SNL alums how their sketch characters did as full-length movies.

    Sounds like another desperate effort by Jackson to make enough money to pay off his creditors and breach of contract suits.

    Posted by Fran January 26, 09 08:08 PM
  1. It could be a great idea. How nice it would be to turn the clock back. This once beautiful young coloured man lived a couple of decades too soon. He should be kicking himself now.

    Posted by Saloplad. Peter Wignall January 26, 09 08:43 PM

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The latest news, commentary, and reviews on music in Boston and beyond.


Sarah Rodman is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

James Reed is a staff music critic for the Boston Globe.

Jonathan Perry is the Globe's Scene & Heard columnist, covering local music.

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