500 Dancers Fly to Los Angeles for Extraordinary Auditions.
Amazing Innovations in Staging and Set – New Benchmark for Live Entertainment
Rehearsals for the Michael Jackson shows are well underway and already the King of Pop is hard at work preparing his concerts with show director Kenny Ortega and contributing choreographer and dancer from the Dangerous and HIStory tours, Travis Payne.
Shrouded in secrecy and the subject of much speculation as to their content, the shows have created a level of excitement never witnessed before. Fittingly, for such an out of this world show, rehearsals are taking place south of Silicone Valley, west of the NASA Space Center!
One of the highlights of rehearsals has been the dance auditions. With over 5,000 applications received, the number was narrowed down to 500 potential candidates, flying into California from all over America, and as far away as Australia, Canada, Japan, Europe, UK, and South America. They are some of the greatest dancers the world has to offer, and they were there for one reason – Michael! His influence inspired many of them to become dancers in the first place.
The competition was intense during the 3 days of auditioning at the Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson was present along with Kenny and Travis to make the final selections. The challenge to secure a place in the show became a reality for fewer and fewer as the level of competition increased. Dancers were tested on their strength, skill, style, creativity, fitness, commitment and execution
Ortega says, “The level of dancers that we saw at the auditions was incredible. Michael was extremely hands on throughout the process in working with the dancers and selecting the final candidates. It was an exciting, intense and highly creative process and not an easy decision in the end.”
For your front row seat at the auditions log onto www.MichaelJacksonLive.com for behind-the-scene footage.
The final line-up of just 12 dancers includes an exceptional mix of international performers. Selected to perform alongside Michael Jackson at London’s O2 arena are US dancers Charles Kapow, Ricardo Reid, Tyne Stecklein, Misha Hamilton, Mekia Cox, Nicholas Bass, Danielle Rueda-Watts and Christopher Grant. As well as, Timor Steffens from Germany, Australian dancer Shannon Holtzapffel, Daniel Celbre and Devin Jamieson from Canada.
Randy Phillips, President & CEO of AEG Live, commented, “Watching Mike and Kenny create this spectacle using the greatest repertoire in contemporary music is one of the most exciting experiences in my career in live entertainment. The fans who are flocking to see Michael Jackson’s return to the stage will not be disappointed. From the special effects to the quality of the dancers and musicians, we are setting a new standard for major arena shows”.
Be clear that this is not just a concert, “This Is It” will be a fully integrated musical experience combining theatre, film, music and the latest advances in technology. Movies, music and movement all rolled into one! . Michael is present at rehearsals overseeing every detail day in day out and constantly pushing the bar slightly higher.
Ortega adds, “It is an intense and exciting creative period. Onstage with the greatest entertainer of our time, we have a strong, talented, dynamic group of dancers and musicians. These are artists whose talent, dedication, skill and passion for performing with their idol is felt every hour of every day spent rehearsing. What is going to take place on that stage at The O2 arena in July will truly be inspiring.”
By the end of the 50 concerts, 750,000 fans will have witnessed one of the greatest musical events in history. This will be the last chance to see the King of Pop in London – a historic stage show, and once in a lifetime concert experience – this really is it!
Note To Editors – One of the world’s most popular entertainers, Michael Jackson has sold over 750 million units worldwide and is one of the very few artists to be inducted twice into the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records has recognised Michael Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and Thriller as The Biggest Selling Album of All Time. Jackson won 13 Grammy Awards and received the American Music Award’s Artist of the Century Award.
Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” 50 concerts sold out in a matter of hours on March 13th smashing box office records.
Kenny Ortega, Producer / Director
Travis Payne, Associate Director /Choreographer
Michael Cotten, Production Designer
Patrick Woodroffe, Lighting Designer
Michael Bearden , Musical Director
Bugzee Hougdahl, Production
Manager Robb Wagner, Screen Producer
Kenny Ortega, the renowned Director, Producer, Choreographer and creative talent is hard at work collaborating with Michael Jackson in the overall design and direction for the upcoming ‘This Is It’ concert shows.
Ortega previously worked on Michael Jackson’s Dangerous and HIStory tours, some of the most spectacular shows ever staged. Ortega, having once been in partnership with Gene Kelly, is most recently known for his work as the Director and Choreographer of Disney’s, High School Musical 1, 2 & 3. Ortega also Produced and Directed the Barbra Streisand’s Millennium concert tour and is a two time Emmy award winner for his work as Director and Choreographer of the 2002 Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies in Salt Lake City, Utah.