The King of Pop may be gone, but those who love his music and moves can experience the next best thing here in the Tri-Cities.
Fabio Morda's impersonation of Michael Jackson in the stage musical The Ultimate Thriller proves he's spent time perfecting the legendary dance moves. And despite this Italian impersonator's accent, he can mimic the high-pitched vocals of the world's most famous Jackson.
Robert Hyman's production comes to the Windermere Theatre on June 15 at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
Hyman enlisted a cast and crew for Ultimate Thriller who have some connection to the superstar, who died at age 50 in 2009.
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"Michael's music spans so many generations," Hyman said via email. "I could think of nothing better than to pay respect by playing his music to the world so we can keep his spirit alive."
Hyman, who is the show's producer as well as creator, is also a drummer for the show's band.
The Ultimate Thriller features all the hit songs Jackson made famous during a lifetime in show business.
Hyman said he wanted the show to be genuine to Jackson's dance moves.
"We have re-created his dance routines as authentically as possible," Hyman said.
To do this, he enlisted the help of choreographers Mic Thompson and LaVelle Smith Jr., who worked with Jackson for many years as principal dancers and choreographers for his tours.
The recent addition of Michael Prince to the staff of The Ultimate Thriller has made the show even better, Hyman said. Prince was a longtime sound technician for Michael Jackson tours and worked with him for about 20 years.
"Michael has provided us key insight into how (his father) approached his live sounds," Hyman said. "He has worked closely with the live musicians and provided invaluable expertise in bringing our sound to a whole new level."
Hyman's great respect for Michael Jackson ultimately led to this tribute show.
"It was with the greatest of love and respect for Michael's legacy that The Ultimate Thriller was created," he said. "For anyone fortunate enough to have witnessed Michael Jackson's live shows, the experience was, well, unlike any other.
"But this was so much more than just putting together a show and going on tour. For the star (Morda) of our show, it was about getting an amazing opportunity to perform the songs of the artist he's most adored his entire life, in front of thousands of people. For the dancers, it was a chance to learn and execute some of the world's best known choreography. For the band, it was knowing they were going to get to play some of the best music ever produced. To this end, we have assembled some of Michael's closest collaborators to produce this world-class production."
Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $39 and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or the Toyota Center box office. Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.
Editor's note: Corrected to fix name and role of Michael Prince.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @dorioneal