There was champagne and a massive cake on stage this week as the cast, producers and backstage crew celebrated Thriller Live entering the record books as the 20th longest running musical in West End history.
Nica Burns, owner of the Lyric Theatre, home to Thriller Live since 2009, led the onstage celebrations at the 2,399th performance in front of an excited, capacity audience.
To tumultous applause, she announced: “Ladies and gentlemen, tonight you are all part of making West End theatre history because Thriller Live has entered the record books as the 20th longest running musical ever in West End theatre history. And why? It’s all because of one man – Michael Jackson and his wonderful musical legacy.”
The show’s creator Adrian Grant, said: “I was very fortunate to work with Michael Jackson for over 21 years and that’s why this show is here today. I wanted to continue his legacy and celebrate his music around the world. To date we have played in 28 countries to over three million people. Now we are one of the biggest West End shows of all time. I know Michael would be very proud and honored that we have achieved that. But it takes a very talented cast to replicate the magic that Michael brought to the stage and we have some of the most fantastic singers and dancers, together with great musicians who replicate his music day after day and a very hard working crew.
“I’d like to thank Producers Paul Walden and Derek Nicol at Flying Music. I came to them in 2006 with the idea for this show. It started life as a tribute show and Michael Jackson came to see the 10th anniversary show in 2001 and he loved it. I also have to thank Gary Lloyd, the Director and Choreographer because without his amazing work we wouldn’t be here today.”
Producer Paul Walden added: “I want to thank the most important people in many ways – you the audience. You have helped us to celebrate over the past six years – and for many more in the future, we hope – the man who was and will always be the King of Pop.”
Recently Thriller Live overtook the records set by the legendary stage musicals The Sound of Music and My Fair Lady, which have now dropped out of the Top 20 longest runners of all time.
Thriller Live has played 2399 perfornances at the Lyric Theatre (as at Wednesday September 24). It is just 130 performances away from overtaking the record set by the 1993 revival of Grease (which ran 2529 performances before closing) and just 219 from leap frogging the original 1960 production of Oliver! (2,618 performances). In 2015 it will beat the record set up Evita, which closed after 2,900 performances at the Prince Edward Theatre.
As it continues its sensational record-breaking 6th year in the West End, the producers of Thriller Live announced earlier this month that the show was further extending its booking period to 6th September 2015. It had been booking to 26th April.
The Top 20 Longest-Running Musicals in West End History
1. Les Misérables – still running, over 11,963 performances
2. The Phantom of the Opera – still running, over 11,632
3. Blood Brothers (closed, 10,013 performances)
4. Cats (closed, 8,949 performances)
5. Starlight Express (closed, 7,406 performances)
6. Mamma Mia! – still running, over 6,479 performances
7. Disney’s The Lion King still running, over 6,250 performances
8. Chicago (closed, 6,187)
9. Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story (closed, 5,140)
10. We Will Rock You – (closed, 4,659)
11. Miss Saigon (original 1989 production / closed 4,264)
12. Billy Elliot The Musical – still running, over 3,952)
13. Wicked – still running, over 3,358 performances
14. Jesus Christ Superstar (original 1972 production / closed – 3,357)
15. Me and My Girl (1985 revival / closed – 3,303)
16. Evita (original 1978 production / closed – 2,900 performances)
17. Jersey Boys – still running, over 2739 performances
18. Oliver! (original 1960 production / closed – 2,618 performances)
19. Grease! (1993 revival / closed – 2529 performances)
20. Thriller Live – still running, over 2391 performances