By Deardra Shuler
Sometimes it seems like the universe is rushing forward and timelines are collapsing. It hardly seems two years have gone by since Michael Jackson left a world which oft-times crucified him. However, with Michael’s passing, the world can’t stop grieving. Michael Jackson departed at 2:26 p.m., PST, on June 25 in his Holmby Hill, California home after his heart gave its last beat. Michael was 50 years old. This renowned child-man left us too soon.
A shrewd business man, Michael loved with the innocence of a child. His generosity and concerns for the world are well documented yet he was an enigma who was often misunderstood. His death has made people realize what a unique musical talent he was and that there will never be another like him; although several Michael Jackson impersonators have tried to keep the spirit of Jackson alive via their performances. In fact, when producer Steve Love of Love Productions, brought his “Michael Jackson: Tribute to the King of Pop” production to Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx last year, it was received so well, that Love has returned again this year to do the show on Saturday, June 25 at 8:00 p.m., which coincides with the second anniversary of Mr. Jackson’s death.
“The show will be a little different this year. Although the show will have dancer Pete Carter, Harlem GospelLive and some numbers from last year, we have added some new dance numbers,” said the show co-producer, Darrin Ross. “This year we have impersonator T-Vain (Montray Cherry) and MJ (Marcus Joseph) Williams from Norway and the youngster Zaccheus, (a 5-time Apollo “Amateur Night” winner) who will perform as the young Jackson 5 Michael. We are going to have a ball and blast honoring Jackson’s memory at Lehman Center. We have done shows in and out of the country but we always try to do a special show on the anniversary of MJ’s death,” said the Bessie Award winner.
“This is more than just a show to us. This is an effort of love. When we look for MJ impersonators we look for artists who love Michael and who passionately endeavor to honor Michael and his legacy. We want the audience to feel the spirit of Michael. MJ Williams sings very close to how Jackson sounded. Thus, we know the audience will not be disappointed. He will sing some of Michael’s ballads like “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and “She’s Out of My Life.” Harlem GospelLive will perform “Man in the Mirror” and “Will You Be There,” medleys. We have a great formulae and format this year with Pete Carter, Zaccheus, Marcus Joseph (MJ) and chorographer T-Vain. We have a great band, video backdrops, and the beat boxer Shaun “Anointed-S” Roig” continued Ross.
This show is for all ages and will be an extravaganza featuring an all-star dance company, master percussionists, the art direction of Val Brochard and spectacular lighting by internationally acclaimed designer Al Crawford.
“I was born in France, even though my family is from Madagascar,” said T-Vain. “I started emulating Michael at 13. I eventually moved to LA and began the MJ journey. I never shared the stage with Michael but he saw me after I did a costume fitting one day. I was dancing in a hallway and Michael saw me and laughed and said “OK.” It was amazing since being an impersonator is my life journey so what more can I ask for but to get Michael’s approval. “Michael Jackson was a committed entertainer and caring person. Therefore, his giving me his approval means so much to me. I want audiences to see how much I care when I bring Michael alive on stage if just for those few hours. This may sound strange, but I actually feel like I go into a trance as I put on the Jackson make-up 3 hours before the show and prepare to transform into Michael. A transformation does indeed occur. It’s like T-Vain goes and Michael Jackson enters in” said T-Vain, explaining how he channels Michael.
“Michael put his whole self into his craft. This is what I respect about Michael Jackson the man. He was a humanitarian and a loving person. He did not have a lot of time to himself so he committed to his music,” remarked the “This Is It” dancer who has worked with the likes of Ricky Martin, Kylie Minogue, Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey. And, who has also performed for Jacques Chirac, the President of France.
Michael set the barometer for excellence. He always did things the way he wanted. We always shoot to achieve and rise to the passion that Michael had in his music. His music was timeless and ageless. We want to be as good as Michael Jackson. He made some of the sweetest ballads I have ever heard” said Darrin Ross. I listened to Michael’s music and now my children do. Michael was a special person. He was a perfectionist that liked to set high marks in music. Michael makes those of us who put on the King Michael Show do better and do our best to rock the house for the fans that come out to Lehman Center for the Michael Jackson: The King of Pop concert.
For tickets to the tribute second anniversary Michael Jackson concert call the Lehman Box Office at 718-960-8833 or go online at www.LehmanCenter.org.