At 7.30pm, the lights outside both the Lyric Theatre in the West End and Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre, where the touring production of the musical is currently running, will be dimmed. Inside, the entire cast and band will meet on stage at both venues to pay tribute to Jackson with speeches, and then the audience will be invited to stand and join the company and theatre staff in holding a minute's silence throughout the auditorium.
More than 1.6 million fans reportedly entered the online ballot to access the 17,500 tickets made available to members of the public for today’s ceremony at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Police have urged other mourners to stay at home and watch on television as they fear riots amongst the anticipated thousands who are likely to turn up without tickets.
At the Lyric, where lights were also dimmed on 26 June, the day after Jackson’s premature death from a heart attack at the age of 50 (See News, 26 Jun 2009), UK fans have been leaving flowers, notes and other gifts in honour of the singer.
Billed as a concert celebration, Thriller - Live includes Michael Jackson and Jackson 5 chart-toppers such as “I Want You Back”, “I’ll Be There”, “Earth Song”, “Blame It on the Boogie”, “Billie Jean”, “Beat It” and, of course, the title song, “Thriller” from best-selling albums including Thriller, Off the Wall, Bad, Dangerous and HIStory.
The show was conceived and created by Adrian Grant, a long-time associate of Jackson and author of Michael Jackson – The Visual Documentary. When Jackson died on 25 June 2009, of a heart attack at the home of 50, Grant said: “Words cannot express my deep sense of loss and sadness; I am shocked beyond belief that Michael has died ... The Jackson family have lost a son and a father, and the world has lost one of the greatest entertainers of all time, a true legend.”