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'Thriller' remembers a legend for two nights honoring the King of Pop

San Diego Gay Men's Chorus will thrill audiences for two nights at the end of June.
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San Diego Pride month wouldn't be complete without a performance by the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus (SDGMC) and this year is no different as they bring a legend back to life for two days at the end of July.

Michael Jackson is the subject of this year’s production they call “Thriller.”

Executive Director Bob Lehman says it is a show they have been waiting to do for years, “Michael's music defined not just a generation, but has become part of our culture,” he said.

That culture has lasted for half of a century; Jackson has been entertaining audiences since 1964 with spectacular dance beats, unique choreography and heartfelt lyrics even after his death in 2009 with Love Never Felt So Good (2014). 

During the 80's when music videos ruled television, Jackson created some of the best known pieces ever shot, from Beat it, to Blood on the Dance Floor. He insisted VJs refer to him as the “The King of Pop,” and that royal title has stuck ever since. 

That moniker is something that still holds true today and Lehman explains why.

“When you hear the first beats of Thriller--everyone from little kids to their grandparents start to shake and move," he said. “The same goes for Billie Jean, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Shake Your Body--everyone wants to see if they can pull off a few MJ moves like a spin or a moonwalk slide across the floor. The music is so infectious and fun, that you can't help but get into it and move to the beat.”

Lehman also reflects on the softer side of Michael, the person who was quick to come to the aid of a cause by writing a song, lending his voice or both.

In 1985, Jackson helped write the charity single We are the World, with Lionel Richie, and in 1992 he sang Gone Too Soon in honor of Ryan White.

Lehman says that some of Jackson’s songs are timeless and can easily be tributes to recent violence against humanity.

“Of special significance, given today's tragedies, are the lyrics of Can You Feel It: ‘All the colors of the world should be lovin' each other wholeheartedly...When hate won't do 'cause we're all the same; Yes the blood inside of me is inside of you."

Aside from the great music and great lyrics, of course there is the dancing. Jackson redefined the art of choreography from inventing the "Moonwalk" to the “standing lean” he does in the video for Smooth Criminal.

“You can't have a Michael Jackson show without dance!” Lehman says, “Special for this show we brought in Lead Choreographer Keith Elliott creator of Chicago's famous Dance for Life to direct our dance troupe. And a big plus--we're partnering with the incredible Culture Shock San Diego as our guest dancers for several songs. At many points in the show, all 150 of our guys will be dancing and singing as well...and we expect audience members will be dancing in the aisles!”

The SDGMC will take the theme “Thriller” to a whole new level, Lehman says that the opening number is something you will have to not only see, but hear to believe.

“This show will be even more so with an opening medley of three Jackson songs with just a hint of Rihanna Can You Feel It, Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough and Wanna Be Startin' Something.

Pride month in San Diego holds a deeper meaning this year after the tragedies that occurred in Florida in June. 

The SDGMC's "Thriller" concert has something for everyone. It's not only a way to honor people with Jackson's timeless lyrics, but it is also a time to celebrate the memories and music the King of Pop has given us for decades. 

"The stage will fill with nearly 200 people from our guys singing and dancing to the dynamic Culture Shock dancers to our stage band. This will definitely be a blockbuster show!"

"Thriller" will play at the Balboa Theatre on Saturday July 30, at 8 pm, and Sunday July 31, at 3pm. 

The Balboa Theatre is located at 868 Fourth Avenue, Downtown San Diego. 

Tickets are available HERE.