|Ricko Baird, the dancer who plays Michael Jackson in Thriller Live, performs. [Jiang Dong / China Daily]|
Thriller Live, a world-touring musical celebrating the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson's talents, started to rock Beijing on Sunday.
An excited audience of 2,000 were thrilled by the crew of more than 40 at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater which lit up with Jackson's best-selling songs and his iconic "moonwalk" dance.
"It's a great show. I'm glad to see the audience in Beijing are so lively and amazing as the Jackson fans from the rest of the world where we've toured," says Ian Pitter, the singer and host of the show.
Debuting in January 2009, Thriller Live is a two-hour show produced by Adrian Grant, one of Jackson's former partners.
In energetic and dynamic performances and with multimedia effects, the show records Jackson's 40-year career from young star in The Jackson Five to the world's "King of Pop".
Jackson's sudden death in June 2009 adds special significance to fans who had hoped to see the star during the tour he was planning at the time of his death.
"It's a relief and gift for the fans who have never seen Jackson in person," said Zhang Rui, President of Jackson's Chinese fan club.
Jackson fan, singer Gao Xiaosong, was one of those pushing to have the show brought before Chinese audiences.
"We're proud to pay tribute to our shared icon in this way," said Dwayne Wint, one of the singers in the show.
Fifteen-year-old Jordan Bratton, who plays young Jackson, has been a fan since he was a 6-year-old.
"Playing Michael on stage is the best feeling in the world," Bratton says, "And I've put a little of me in the performance in the way I dance."
The dancer Ricko Baird, a singer himself, plays Jackson in the show and performed hits including Dangerous.
His moonwalking dances won screaming hurrahs from the audience Sunday.
With more than 20 songs performed, the Beijing audience stayed on its feet and enjoyed the show.
A 6-year-boy brought by his mother said his favorite song was Beat It, which his mother said he has listened to at least 200 times.
The show will continue to be seen in Beijing for three nights before moving on to Guangzhou from July 19 to 21.