The Michael Jackson History Show has hit the Mother City and will be playing at the Artscape Opera House from 19 to 29 January, before heading to Johannesburg in February. The auditorium was packed for the opening night, with avid fans and members of the press all eager to see whether Michael would in fact rise again. By the end of the night we were all on our feet.
Jackson is played by a Dantanio, a Kimberley boy who has been dreaming of performing around the world since he was nine years old. He was introduced to the King of Pop at a young age, when his brother bought a copy of Thriller on cassette in 1989. He stole the tape and played it to exhaustion, and when it finally broke his brother told him to perform Billy Jean for them all as punishment. The family expected an awkward fall-about but instead Dantanio stunned them with an impressive imitation of the song and dance moves.
In 2014 he landed the lead in the Michael Jackson History Show and he has since devoted himself to bringing these great hits back to life. You can look forward to all the big ones including Thriller, Billie Jean, Smooth Criminal, Bad, Beat It, ABC, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, Human Nature, PYT, They Don’t Really Care About Us and more, all brilliantly executed. Dantanio is supported by a team of incredible dancers and a talented band, all contributing to a thoroughly entertaining experience.
I thought Dantanio excelled in his task and committed heart and soul into this performance. He has studied Jackson down to the finest detail, from the moves and voice to fine mannerisms like the way he flipped his hair back on stage and cupped his mic with his hand. And the production has been equally meticulous about the details, even considering whether Michael had sung that specific track with a hand-held mic or headset.
The reality of course is that imitating a musical icon like Michael Jackson means you are consistently being compared to one of the greatest performers that ever lived. There are those die-hard fans who will nitpick at small differences and flaws, but also others who will love the opportunity to see these hits performed live once again. Most of the audience members were on their feet throughout the evening, cheering loudly at the start of yet another hit, and singing along to their favourite tracks.
I was still very young when Michael was in his heyday and while I’ve always appreciated his music and showmanship, I have never fully given my heart to the king of pop. After last night, however, I was once again reminded of the impact that he had on the music scene and I’ve since spent hours looking through old footage of his concerts. He really was magnificent. In that sense I think the show was a success. It honored the memory of the King and he lived again in the hearts of the audience.
I would recommend the show to any Michael Jackson fan.
19 – 29 January
Tickets range from R190 – R390
Visit artscape.co.za for more.