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Home / News Archive / News October 2012

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MJ Estate & Paul Anka Sued Over 'This Is It' For $24 MILLION. 31-10-'12

A music producer claims he's owed at least $24 MILLION for his work on the Paul Anka/Michael Jackson collaboration "This Is it" -- and now, he's suing Anka and the MJ Estate for the money.

The producer -- named Michael Jonzun -- filed the lawsuit in Massachusetts federal court, claiming he helped remake Paul and MJ's 1983 song "I Never Heard" ... into what eventually became MJ's 2009 song "This Is It."

According to the lawsuit, Jonzun owns one-third of "This Is It" but he never got paid his share of the song's proceeds -- so he's suing.

Paul Anka tells TMZ, he has never even heard the name Michael Jonzun before today -- and any claims Jonzun owns a portion of "This Is It" are "BS."

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


Rosa Parks Museum To Display MJ Photographs, Memorabilia In New Exhibit. 31-10-'12

The Rosa Parks Museum at the Troy University in Montgomery (Alabama, USA) will display “MJ Obscura” by Amalia Amaki, an exhibit exploring the life and legacy of Michael Jackson through photos and mixed-media art. The exhibit is intended to showcase the traits and beliefs of Michael as a person, rather than a celebrity.

“While a part of his intent was obviously to entertain, there is a culturally intelligent and politically astute side of Michael Jackson that has not been seriously explored,” said Georgette Norman, director of the Rosa Parks Museum. “Amaki’s body of work introduces a few basic concepts that will be elaborated on and more fully developed in subsequent artwork and a book in progress of the same title.”

In addition to the photographs and artwork included by Amaki, the exhibit will also feature a variety of personal items and memorabilia from Michael’s life. On November 10, the museum will host a discussion of the exhibit with the artist during a gallery talk at 11 a.m. inside the museum auditorium. Admission is free and open to the public.

The exhibit will be on display in the museum exhibit hall from November 8, 2012 through January 4, 2013. The exhibit hall at the Rosa Parks Museum is free and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Source: Al.com / Billie Jean


MJ The Immortal World Tour Arrives In Italy, Pre-sale Tickets! 30-10-'12

We are happy to provide you with links to pre-sale tickets for Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour in Milan and Turin!

Get here your tickets

Source: The Michael Jackson Estate / Billie Jean


'Thriller Live' Launches Academy. 30-10-'12

Producers of the hit Westend show 'Thriller Live' in the UK are launching an academy to train young boys to take on the role of singing the songs of young Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 in the show, which will celebrate entering its fifth year in the Westend in just a few weeks.

Thriller Live casting director Debbie O’Brien said:

“We need at least 6 boys at any one time in the West End and the show is still touring around the world. The sad fact is that as soon as a boy’s voice breaks, he can no longer stay with the production, so we have a high turnover. Candidates for the MJ Academy can have had no stage experience whatsoever. We are looking for boys who are exciting, confident and energetic. They need to be of black or dual heritage, aged 9 - 14 with an excellent unbroken pop/rock voice with a high range. They must be prepared to sing either "Ben", "I Want You Back" or "I'll Be There" at an initial audition to see if they are suitable for the Academy."

Open auditions for the Academy will take place between 4.30pm – 7.00pm on November 2, 2012 in London (UK).

The MJ Academy will open its doors for the first time on November 9, 2012. Participants will get classes in singing and dancing every Friday between 5pm and 8pm, with terms lasting three months. They will get music tuition from the show’s musical director, John Maher, who will also have creative responsibility for the school. Dance classes will be taken by Dannii Hampson, and the show’s resident director, Britt Quinton. Each child will have to commit to 3 months of ‘training’ and at the end of the 12 weeks, a full audition will take place with the show’s award-winning director, Gary Lloyd, creator Adrian Grant and producer Paul Walden. There is no charge for the Academy once a boy has been accepted, but parents will be responsible, at their own cost, for getting pupils to and from the sessions each week.

If you are interested you can contact Debbie O’Brien Casting info@debbieobrien.net or phone 01462 742919.

Source: MJFC / Westend Broadwayworld / Billie Jean


Get A Photo With The HIStory Tour Space Suit Jacket! 30-10-'12

Michael Bush will be in London to sign copies of his brand new book 'The King Of Style : Dressing Michael Jackson. Come down to 'The Collection of Tompkins and Bush Exhibition' in London on 31st October 2012, to Meet Michael Bush in person and pick up your copy of this amazing new book!

Come dressed up as Michael or in Halloween theme and get down to Michael's top 'scary' tunes! Plus surprises!

The Iconic team know just how much fans love the famous HIStory tour outfit, so we took this idea to Julien's Auctions to give fans the chance to have their photograph taken standing right next to the jacket, With NO GLASS in between! All Visitors to the 'Collection Of Tompkins and Bush Exhibition in London on Sunday 4th November, between 1-3pm will be able to stop by the exit at the end to grab this once in a life time opportunity for just £3.00!

Source: MJVibe / Billie Jean


Fit For A King: The Man Behind Michael Jackson’s Iconic Costumes. 29-10-'12

Those dressing up as a dancing zombie from Thriller for Halloween have more than one Michael to thank for their costume. For 25 years until Michael Jackson’s death in 2009, Michael Bush created many of the garments the world saw on stage, in videos and in the late entertainer’s life. From the cropped trousers and blinged-out socks to, yes, dozens of those famous quilt-seamed military-inspired leather jackets.

The Thriller jacket itself – without question the most famous of these – predates Bush and was designed by Deborah Nadoolman (noted theatre and film costume designer and historian, and wife of Thriller director John Landis) and was auctioned in June for a princely sum.

But as part of Jackson’s inner circle, Bush, along with his late partner Dennis Tomkins, began designing his concert costumes and personal wardrobe in 1984 — including making refinements to that iconic glove. Jackson made the first crystal-studded glove himself, but he soon preferred their versions.

“In earlier times the stones were thick and all the same size,” recalls Bush, “and thick, a bit like Mickey Mouse.” Bush refined and sculpted the design using graduated sizes of the iridescent aurora borealis crystals preferred by Jackson because they cast off more light. “To this day, when you walk around his glove it looks like it’s moving — it’s got its own life.”

To read the complete interview, please click here.

Source: Nationalpost / Billie Jean


‘Man In The Mirror’ Co-writer Pens New Tribute Songs For MJ. 28-10-'12

Siedah Garrett, who co-wrote Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and sang “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” has composed and performed two new tribute songs to the King of Pop.

In a later interview via e-mail, the multitalented Siedah disclosed that she had penned and sang two new songs, “Keep on Lovin’ You” and “I’ll Remember,” as a tribute to the late Michael. Below are excerpts from our interview with Siedah, who remembers Michael fondly for being highly creative, for being a perfectionist and for his childlike sense of humor:

To read the complete interview, please click here.

Source: Inquirer / Billie Jean


DVD: Special Sesame Street Christmas. 28-10-'12

November 12, fans of the King of Pop had an appointment with a DVD special. Legendary Entertainment sells DVD Special Sesame Street Christmas (1978) TV show nominated for Emmy Awards which contains a special appearance by Michael Jackson, filmed at the time when he started off his final solo (it was at this time that it was played in the movie 'The Wiz' before dedicating himself to recording his album Off The Wall).

Leslie Uggams is celebrating Christmas on Sesame Street, but since Oscar the Grouch is being a right old scrooge, she decides to teach him a lesson by imploring Anne Murray, Imogene Coca, and Dickie Smothers to pose as the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. Have a hot cocoa with Henry Fonda and enjoy a very special appearance by none other than Michael Jackson as he helps set Oscar on the right track to fully understanding the Spirit of Christmas.

The DVD can be preordered on Amazon

Source: Amazon / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson’s Will Is A Fake, Says Pal David Gest. 28-10-'12

Reality TV veteran David Gest is seething about the way the King of Pop’s estimated £1billion legacy is being handled by powerful lawyers.

He spoke as the Jackson clan tore themselves apart over his fortune — and his siblings were left nothing.

David, best friend of Jackson for 40 years, said: “There’s a lot of questions about the will.

“One of the things people are wondering is how Michael was supposed to have signed that will in LA — when supposedly he was in New York that day.

“If he was in New York, how could he have signed it in LA?”

David’s accusation echoes claims by some of Jacko’s furious brothers and sisters, who say there is evidence he was with family friend Al Sharpton in New York on June 7, 2002.

That is the day he is meant to have put his signature on his will. Some family members also claim the initial copy of the will they saw did not have a signature page on it.

The terms of the document leave sole control of his estate, growing by millions every day from posthumous record sales, to two lawyers.

One is flashy John Branca, the other John McLain, a music chief at Interscope Records.

David, who organised Jacko’s 30th anniversary concert in 2001, went on: “I know the family weren’t happy.

“They probably thought they would be running the estate. But it was left to John Branca, who Michael had just gotten back with.”

The Thriller hitmaker’s relatives are still battling for a cut of his estate three years after his death.

Estate executors have branded claims that the will is bogus as “defamatory” — and the courts are satisfied it is above board.

But Michael’s sister Janet, 46, and brothers Randy, 50, and Jermaine, 57, have been fighting to overthrow the executors, claiming his 2002 will is “fake, flawed and fraudulent”.

Other family members — including TJ, son of Michael’s brother Tito, and Jacko’s cousin Trent — are siding with the lawyers.

David said of Tito: “He’s one of my best friends. He never took anything from Michael, and never wanted to.”

When the singer died of an overdose of surgical anaesthetic in 2009, his finances were in chaos. His uncontrollable spending on luxuries left him £250million in debt.

But a boom in record sales after he died and constant income from a Beatles back catalogue he bought in 1985 have generated massive wealth.

The income easily provides for the rent of Katherine’s £8million home in Calabasas, California, school and medical fees and a £50,000 a month allowance for his children.

His legal team are fighting for him to do community service instead. David said: “It would be a travesty of justice to have him released so early.”

And he insists Jacko was not capable of the child abuse allegations that plagued him.

He said: “I knew the man. He wouldn’t touch a child. He was proved innocent. Did he like having children around? Yes. Did children sit on the bed and watch TV? Yes.

“But he would never do anything to a child.” David knew Jacko from the age of nine. And the star was best man at his wedding to Liza Minnelli in 2002.

He said it all went wrong for Jacko after a freak accident in 1984, in which his hair was set on fire during the making of a Pepsi commercial.

It sent him on a downward spiral of bad business deals and drug addiction. David said: “He was in pain. ”

Source: The Sun / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson - Death House SOLD!!!.... Almost. 27-10-'12

The house where Michael Jackson died is in escrow and about to close ... TMZ has learned ... and the buyer was so anxious, he's moving in weeks before escrow is scheduled to close.

The buyer is Steven Mayer, a super-rich investment banker.

Our sources say the purchase price was somewhere between $17 and $20 mil -- it was listed for nearly $24 mil.

And this is interesting ... for some reason the seller is letting Mayer move in before escrow closes -- something real estate honchos think is high risk.

Mauricio Umansky at The Agency represented Mayer and the seller of the home. We reached out to him, but haven't heard back.

At any rate, Mayer loves the crib a lot. We hope he has better luck than Michael.

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


Jackson 5 Animated Series Coming To DVD And Blu-Ray. 26-10-'12

Are you ready to get your dancing machine on? If you’re a fan of the Jackson 5 it looks like you can relive their cartoon glory again. It’s been announced that the 1971 Saturday morning cartoon featuring the fictionalised accounts of young Michael Jackson’s time with his brothers is coming to DVD and Blu-Ray.

Titled The Jackson 5ive, the series went on to show wacky Scooby-Doo like hi-jinks and colorful musical montages complete with 70s emblematic bell bottoms and flower powers. The series ran from 1971 to 1973 and was syndicated in the 80s when Michael Jackson’s career hit an all-time high during his solo career.

In the late 80s, the younger Jackson wrote in his 1988 autobiography about the show, “It was so much fun to get up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons and look forward to seeing ourselves on the screen. It was like a fantasy come true for all of us.”

Now that it’s a full 41 years later after its original release, the production company, Classic Media, is releasing the series The Jackson 5ive: The Complete Series on DVD and Blu-Ray with a release date of January 15, 2013. Sounds like a great post holiday gift for any MJ fan.

The DVD set will include 23 episodes in full and the retail price is said to be $32.99 dollars. For the Blu-ray version you’ll have to shell out a little extra as the price is slated at $39.00 dollars.

Currently there’s no other additional details about the DVD set but hopefully you can look forward to some great bonus features or at least some commentary tracks.

Pre-order
DVD: Amazon
Blu-ray: Amazon

Source: The Inquisitr / Billie Jean


THRILLER LIVE Announces Lyric Theatre's Halloween Makeover. 26-10-'12

To celebrate Halloween and the upcoming 30th anniversary of the worldwide release of the iconic Thriller album on November 30, the Lyric Theatre, the West End home of Thriller Live, which recreates Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller zombie hit, is getting a ghoulish, blood-curdling makeover.

Two groups of art students from West Thames College London and St Charles Catholic Sixth Form College are decorating the theatre bars with spooky, chilling themes.

Cast members are joining in the devilish fun by carving pumpkins that will be displayed in the upper circle bar.

The theatre will have its Halloween makeover from Friday 26 October to Sunday 4 November. Theatre ushers will be dressed as witches and devils and will hand out spooky treats to theatre goers at the end of the show.

On Halloween itself, Wednesday 31 October, 50 children from Holmleigh School in Hackney in association with the Variety Club of Great Britain, have been invited for an afternoon of fun, chills and thrills. They will watch a short performance by the cast, followed by zombie face painting courtesy of students from Delamar Academy and freelance makeup artist Shaz Imani and then learn some wicked zombie moves at a Thriller dance workshop. They will then perform on the Lyric Theatre stage.

Two weeks later, on Thursday 15 November, Joe McElderry, Macy Gray & Stooshe will join Thriller Live for one night only for Pop Goes The Musical 2012.

As the momentum continues to build for the show-stopping BBC Children in Need Pop Goes the Musical, the charity is thrilled to announce that the magnificent Macy Gray, the chart-buster Stooshe, and X Factor winner Joe McElderry will each separately put their own spin on a Michael Jackson classic in Thriller Live.

Now in its fourth year in the West End, Thriller Live is currently booking to 15 September 2013.

Source: Broadway / Billie Jean


Review: Michael Jackson Triumphs In 'Bad 25'. 26-10-'12

Spike Lee in-depth look at Jackson's 1987 album, 'Bad,' moves like a great pop song, with performance clips, 'who knew?' anecdotes and A-list testimonials.

An unexpected narrative has solidified around Michael Jackson's legacy since the pop superstar died in 2009: that as much as he was a creative genius — an artist capable of pulling inspiration from the cosmos, as Jackson himself describes it in Spike Lee's new documentary "Bad 25" — his success came largely as the result of hard work.

The master is being remade as a trouper.

We saw the beginnings of this in "This Is It," the 2009 documentary-cum-concert film assembled by Kenny Ortega from footage recorded during rehearsals for Jackson's ill-fated run of shows at the O2 Arena in London.

And now the story advances in "Bad 25," which takes an in-depth look at the making of Jackson's 1987 follow-up to the world-dominating "Thriller." (It's part of a 25th-anniversary onslaught that also includes a deluxe reissue of the album.)

"This documentary celebrates the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and the achievements of his album 'Bad,'" reads a title card at the end of the movie, and the word "achievements" seems instructive: Lee revels in the long hours and musician expertise required to produce hits such as "Smooth Criminal" and "Man in the Mirror."

The album's commercial triumph, in his account, simply rewarded a job well done.

"Celebrates" is another telling word. Packed with flattering performance clips and fawning testimonials from A-list admirers, Lee's two-hour film is no less worshipful than "This Is It."

The director nods to the extra-musical pursuits that threatened to destabilize Jackson's career during the extended layover between "Thriller" and "Bad." He's especially insightful on the singer's controversial acquisition in 1985 of the Beatles' songbook, which cultural critic Nelson George says unsettled people — white people, one infers — who view those songs as "sacred."

But those were distractions, Lee decides.

What elevates "Bad 25" over sizzle-reel utility Lee's his distinctive personal touch. Partly, that means Lee's ability to get celebrities in front of a camera, as he did here with Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey and Kanye West, who thanks Jackson for introducing him in "Dirty Diana" to a predatory-groupie type he's since come to know well.

In one memorable sequence, the director dissects the "Bad" video with its director, Martin Scorsese — a kind of "Behind 'Behind the Music'" moment that reflects the obsession with minutiae that animates all of Lee's work.

And with Jackson, there's never any shortage of fascinating insider anecdotes. Who knew, for example, that playwright August Wilson had been asked to write a script for the video for "The Way You Make Me Feel"? (Wilson said no.)

All those details suggest that a nearly Jacksonian level of effort went into this meticulously researched movie, which following a theatrical run in L.A. is due to air on ABC on Thanksgiving. But not unlike the singer and his producer Quincy Jones, Lee stitches them together with speed and precision.

On-screen, "Bad 25" moves in the style of a great pop song.

Source: LA Times / Billie Jean


Jailed Michael Jackson Doctor To Be Released By Christmas?

Conrad Murray, the former doctor convicted of causing Michael Jackson's death, could be released by Christmas because of fears of overcrowding in US jails.

Murray was sentenced to four years in an LA jail for involuntary manslaughter in November 2011. However, Murray's lawyer has described keeping her client imprisoned as "a waste of everybody's time" and is confident he will be released early if a deal to replace the sentence with community service can be struck.

Speaking to The Sun, lawyer Valerie Wass said: "I hope Conrad may be allowed to come home for Christmas. It is ridiculous he has been in there for a year. He is not dangerous, violent or the type you need to take off the streets to punish him. They have already stripped him of his medical licence and it is a waste of everybody's time and money to have him in there."

Wass later spoke about Murray's physical state and the effect staying in prison is having on his health, saying: "He's being housed like a piece of veal. He can't even do jumping jacks in his cell. Anybody who watched the trial that ended almost a year ago, they wouldn't recognise him walking on the street today. His hair has turned grey. He's down 20 or 30 pounds. He's very gaunt-looking and has a hard time walking."

Earlier this year Michael Jackson's father dropped a civil case against Murray. Joe Jackson had been seeking financial compensation for loss of income and emotional distress following the death of his son in 2009.

Source: NME / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson Loses Top Spot On Dead Rich List. 25-10-'12

Dame Elizabeth Taylor has surpassed Michael Jackson as the highest-earning dead celebrity in the past year.

The late actress' estate amassed a staggering US$210 million ($NZ256m) last year mainly thanks to the auction of Elizabeth's jewellery, costumes and artwork, which brought in $184 million after every one of the 1800 lots sold, which puts her at the summit of Forbes magazine's list of Top-Earning Dead Celebrities.

Elizabeth's most expensive item to go under the hammer was an 1889 Van Gogh painting which sold for $16 million, while her perfume, White Diamonds, made around $75 million in 2011.

According to the publication, Elizabeth's estate also made money from property sales and from her films as after starring in 1963 drama Cleopatra, the actress - who died in March 2011 aged 79 - negotiated a 10 per cent ownership stake in each of her movies.

Michael - who died in 2009 - dropped into second place in the list with earnings of $145 million and Elvis Presley is third with $55 million, the same amount he pulled in last year.

The Beat It singer's estate earned money from Cirque Du Soleil show The Immortal Tour and he also has a 50 per cent stake in Sony's ATV catalog, which features artists such as The Beatles, Lady Gaga and Taylor Swift.

Cartoonist Charles Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip, is fourth in the Forbes list - which analyses dead celebrities' earnings between October 2011 and October 2012 - after amassing $37 million, followed by reggae star Bob Marley with $17 million and late Beatles singer John Lennon with $12 million.

Other star names featured include Marilyn Monroe ($10 million) and Steve McQueen ($8 million).

Overall, the 13 stars on the list earned a total $532.5 million from beyond the grave over the past 12 months.

Full list of Forbes magazine's Top-Earning Dead Celebrities:

1. Dame Elizabeth Taylor ($210 million)
2. Michael Jackson ($14 million)
3. Elvis Presley ($55 million)
4. Charles Schulz ($37 million)
5. Bob Marley ($17 million)
6. John Lennon ($12 million)
7. Marilyn Monroe ($10 million)
7. Albert Einstein ($10 million)
9. Dr. Seuss ($9 million)
10. Steve McQueen ($8 million)
10. Bettie Page ($8 million)
12. Richard Rogers ($6 million)
13. George Harrison ($5.5 million)

Source: The New Zealand Herald / Billie Jean


AEG Wants E-mails Banned From Michael Jackson Trial. 24-10-'12

Michael Jackson's mother sat quietly in court on Wednesday watching as her lawyers fought loudly with attorneys for AEG, the concert promoter she accuses of contributing to the pop star's death.
They argued over who leaked e-mails to a reporter that revealed the promoter had doubts about Jackson's health and his ability to be ready for his "This Is It" concerts several months before his death.

"MJ is locked in his room drunk and despondent," AEG executive Randy Phillips wrote in a March 5, 2009, e-mail, the day Jackson announced the tour plans. "I (am) trying to sober him up."

The judge must decide if she will exclude those e-mails from the wrongful-death suit filed by Katherine Jackson and her son's three children against AEG.

Read the full text.

Source: CNN / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's Personal Debts To Be Paid Off By Year's End. 24-10-'12

When Michael Jackson passed away in June 2009, his departure was met by the grieving of millions of fans around the world—and by a great deal of discussion and speculation over the fate of the half-billion dollars he owed to creditors ranging from big banks to “Thriller” director John Landis.

Many questions have been answered over the past three years as the King of Pop’s estate has continued to pull in nine figures on an annual basis, most recently $145 million over the past year. And according to representatives from the estate, the late singer’s personal debts will be paid off by the end of the year.

The last major non-business loan left is connected to Jackson’s Mijac Music, the entity that contains the copyrights to the songs he wrote over the course of his career. Shortly after the singer’s death, the estate started paying off a $75 million loan he had taken out against the catalog, negotiating the interest rate down from an exorbitant 15.5% to a very manageable 4%. The final payments on that loan are set to be made this fall.

It’s a major milestone for Michael Jackson’s growing postmortem business empire, especially considering where the estate began. After the singer’s death, it appeared that many of his assets were close to default, if not already there. But a handful of deals—including a $60 million advance for the concert film This Is It and a $250 million record deal with Sony, the largest in history—gave the estate the steady cash flow needed to pay off creditors.

In addition to paying down the massive loan on Mijac Music, the estate has paid $35 million owed to concert promoter AEG (in connection with Jackson’s planned This Is It tour) and the $4.1 million mortgage on the Jackson family estate in Encino, Calif. Smaller debts to individuals have been renegotiated and resolved, including an agreement with Landis, who had alleged that Jackson still owed him $2.3 million in 2009.

A substantial business loan ($280 million, by FORBES’ estimate) remains on Jackson’s 50% stake in the Sony/ATV publishing catalog. The singer shrewdly bought the entity’s precursor, ATV, for $47.5 million in 1985 after recognizing the value of the rights to songs it contained by The Beatles. Ten years later he merged the catalog with Sony’s publishing catalog after the company paid him $100 million as part of the deal, retaining half of the newly-formed combined entity for himself.

Today, the Sony/ATV catalog itself is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 billion, thanks to its ownership of copyrights by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and others. The interest rate on Jackson’s loan connected to the catalog has been sliced from 5.8% to 2.9% since his death. At that low rate, paying back the loan quickly, in full, may not even be financially expedient—the company’s funds could be better utilized by buying up new, money-generating copyrights.

That said, given Jackson’s postmortem earnings prowess, the estate could probably pay off that loan fairly soon if necessary. The singer’s Immortal World Tour, a joint venture with Cirque Du Soleil, has grossed $160 million this year, making Michael Jackson the top-grossing live act in North America three years after his death. Other deals–including one with Pepsi, Jackson’s first endorsement pact in two decades–should continue to add to the estate’s coffers.

Not even John Landis could have imagined such a resurrection.

Source: Forbes / Billie Jean


Your Chance To Play Michael Jackson On Broadway. 24-10-'12

Actors across the country can relive the birth of Motown and rise to stardom with the likes of Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson in a new Broadway musical based on the life and career of Motown founder Berry Gordy.

Casting director Bethany Knox of Telsey + Company is touring the country to cast the world premiere Broadway production of “Motown: The Musical,” featuring music and lyrics from the eponymous record label’s catalog and a book by Gordy himself. Open calls will be held in November and December in major cities including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, and Motown’s hometown of Detroit.

The producers announced in August that Tony Award nominee Brandon Victor Dixon (“The Color Purple”) will star as Berry Gordy opposite Valisia LeKae (“The Book of Mormon”) as Diana Ross, but several iconic roles are still available.

Knox is looking for adult actors who can match the physical and vocal styles of Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson to portray these legendary recording artists as young men, as well as an 8- to 11-year-old boy to play Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Berry Gordy as children. In addition, an attractive female singer with a slender build and “an amazing pop singing voice” who moves very well will cover Diana Ross and other featured ensemble roles, and a male bass singer will play various featured ensemble parts.

The producers are seeking African-American singers for all roles. No prior theater experience is required.

Open call auditions for the above roles will be held Saturday, Nov. 3, at Winans Academy of Performing Arts in Detroit and at Telsey + Company in New York City; Saturday, Nov. 10, at Hollywood Methodist Church in L.A.; Sunday, Nov. 18, at Lou Conte Dance Studio (a.k.a. Hubbard Street Dance) in Chicago; and Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta. Performers should prepare a Motown song that shows their range. Both Equity and non-Equity actors will be seen at all of the above audition locations.

 

Actors who cannot attend these auditions may upload a video audition to YouTube to be considered. To submit an audition video for young Michael Jackson, actors should record themselves performing “I Want You Back,” “I’ll Be There,” or “Who’s Loving You.” For all other roles, performers should sing a song from the Motown songbook.

For more information and audition details, visit MotownTheMusical.com and view the full casting notices online at Backstage.com.

“Motown: The Musical” is scheduled to open Sunday, April 14, 2013, at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on Broadway, following preview performances that begin Monday, March 11. Rehearsals begin mid-January in New York City. Gordy is producing the show with Kevin McCollum and Doug Morris. The production will be directed by Charles Randolph-Wright (“Ruined,” “Dreamgirls”), who also directed a workshop of the musical in New York earlier this year.

Source: Backstage / Billie Jean


Pre-Sale Tickets For France On Sale Wednesday. 23-10-'12

We are thrilled to inform you that pre-sale tickets for Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour in Paris and Montpellier, France will go on sale tomorrow morning, Wednesday, 24 October.

Here are the links for you to share with your community, which will be activated Wednesday morning local time.

CLICK TO BUY TICKETS: Paris

CLICK TO BUY TICKETS: Montpellier

Source: The Official Online Team of the Michael Jackson Estate™ / Billie Jean


Tim Burton Eyed MJ For House Of Wax Musical Version. 23-10-'12

Director Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland) recently received an award along with partner Helena Bonham Carter at the London Film Festival where his new atop motion animated film 'Frankenweenie' had its European debut. During an interview at the event Burton was asked about ideas he had in the past that didn't make it to the big screen. He revealed that he once proposed a movie starring Michael Jackson.

"My favorite one was when I tried to convince the studio to make my idea of a musical version of House Of Wax with Michael Jackson. It was many years ago but that's the one that springs to mind."

Unfortunately the idea apparently had a quick demise.

"They did not go for that one at all," said Burton.

'House Of Wax' was released in 2005 as a remake of a 1953 horror movie. Starring Paris Hilton, the story follows a group of teens who are stranded near a strange wax museum. They soon begin to fight in a struggle to survive from becoming the exhibit's newest acquisition.

Source: MJFC / Yhaoo! Movies U.K. / Movieline / Billie Jean


Unreleased Michael Jackson And Freddie Mercury Duet Featured In New Documentary. 21-10-'12

An unreleased Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury duet has featured in a new documentary about the life of the late Queen frontman.

A snippet of 'There Must Be More To Life Than This' featured in The Great Pretender, which was screened by the BBC earlier this week (October 16). The programme can now be watched by UK residents on the iPlayer.

As well as featuring the aforementioned all-star collaboration, the film includes rare archive footage of Mercury joining forces with Rod Stewart to sing a demo for 'Take Another Piece of My Heart', an unreleased song from 1984 and footage of Mercury with the Royal Ballet in 1979.

Out takes from Queen video shoots also feature, as does footage from Mercury's 39th Black and White cross-dressing birthday party, which took place at Mrs Henderson's nightclub in Munich in 1985.

The documentary, which will be available on DVD and Blu-ray, shows Mercury's earliest filmed interview in Australia and another unseen interview by NBC, both from 1976.

Source: NME / Billie Jean


VIDEO: Jackson Family Performs In DC. 20-10-'12

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - The Jacksons are back on stage. On Friday night, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon performed at the Howard Theater. They kicked off the "unity tour" a week ago in Canada. After one more stop in the U.S., they'll head overseas.

During Friday's performance they paid tribute to Michael and talked about what it's like performing without their brother.

 

See above video for more with the Jacksons.

Source: Wusa9 / Billie Jean


Spike Lee Debuts Michael Jackson Documentary 'BAD25' Trailer. 19-10-'12

On Thanksgiving, fans will get a peek into the making of one of Michael Jackson's classic albums, "Bad."

In celebration of the full-length's 25th anniversary, ABC will premiere Spike Lee's documentary, "Michael Jackson: BAD25," on Thursday, November 22 at 9:30 pm EST.

As seen in the 60-second preview above, exclusively premiered on ABC's The View, Lee chronicles the making of the 1987 album, music videos, and the King of Pop's legendary "Bad" tour.


Source: Billboard / Billie Jean


Katherine Jackson Too Old To Handle Teenager Paris. 19-10-'12

Katherine Jackson is said to be struggling to cope with her granddaughter Paris' wild ways and has reportedly lashed out at the teen over her behaviour.

The family matriarch shares guardianship of her late son Michael Jackson's three children, Prince Michael, Paris and Blanket, but the 82-year-old has reportedly had enough of Paris' rebellious attitude. Paris, 14, recently chopped off her long tresses and is now rocking a short bob which she has also lightened to a honey brown.

However, her appearance at a red carpet event on October 11 was said to be the last straw for Katherine.

"Your father would be furious with you!" Katherine allegedly screamed at Paris according to the National Enquirer.

"Paris is growing up way too fast and Katherine is worried to death about her. She looked like a 24-year-old," the source continued.

"Katherine blew up and told Paris she was wearing too much makeup, her clothes were too tight and re­vealing, and that she’s hanging out with the wrong crowd."

"Katherine was so angry she was in tears. But Paris lashed back at her grandmother for being ‘old-fash­ioned’ and insisted that she’s not doing anything wrong."

Speaking of when Katherine saw Paris' new drastic hairdo, the source adds: "When Katherine saw the picture, she almost had a heart attack."

"Paris’ shenanigans are getting to be too much for Katherine. She’s too old to handle a crazy young teenage girl like that," the source adds.

Do you think Paris is going off the rails?

Source: 103jamz / Billie Jean


Michael Among First R&B Hall Of Fame Inductees. 19-10-'12

Michael Jackson will be inducted into a brand new R&B Music Hall of Fame. A special induction ceremony will take place on May 5, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio (USA). The inaugural class of 2013, which features 25 inductees, will also include Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, James Brown, The Temptations, Otis Redding, The O'Jays and Gerald Levert.

Plans for the Official R&B Music Hall of Fame Museum were announced this week to honour those who have made notable contributions to the music genre R&B. Construction on the proposed museum is expected to begin next summer once organisers settle on a city to call home.

R&B is the latest genre to land its own Hall of Fame - a similar honour is planned for American Pop, while locals in Tennessee will celebrate the state's musical success next month when Elvis Presley and ZZ Top are inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame.

Source: Contactmusic / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson's Dad Flashes Gun At Award Ceremony. 18-10-'12

Joe Jackson FLASHED A HANDGUN to a room full of people at a recent event in Vegas ... and told the crowd it's just like an American Express card ... he doesn't leave home without it.

The bizarre moment all went down while Joe was at the Tuscany Hotel and Casino in Vegas this weekend to be honored at the Black Music Awards (apparently that's a thing).

Joe was introduced by his friend -- Majestik -- who told the crowd a story about Joe confronting Michael Jackson's bodyguards two weeks before MJ's death.

During the alleged confrontation, Majestik says Joe flashed his gun at the guards and said -- "If I hear you all givin' my son drugs or doing anything illegal with my son ... I'ma kill all of you."

When Majestik turned the mic over to Joe -- JJ corroborated the story ... saying, "It's very true. Every word he said."

Then Joe told the crowd ... "I carry a piece everywhere I go ... I'm gonna show it to you."

Joe proceeded to open up his suit jacket, revealing a handgun holstered by his hip. Joe explained, "I've been threatened a lot of times and so I need to be safe."

We reached out to Joe to see if he is even legally allowed to pack heat -- but so far, we have yet to hear back.

Source: TMZ / Billie Jean


The Celebrity Artist Meets Michael Jackson's Children In The Bahamas. 17-10-'12

Nassau, Bahamas - "Michael Jackson was always an inspiration to me," said Bahamas' Celebrity Artist, Jamaal Rolle, who has been featured on ABC and NBC news for his many celebrity drawings. Many drawings take place quite by chance as celebs who visit the Bahamas pass by his studio on Paradise Island. Rolle shares with us one of his most exciting encounters and drawings.

"One night I saw an entourage of about eight securities guarding some children. The children appeared to be familiar to me as I had seen their faces before. I recognized the children to be Michael Jackson’s as well as the gentleman who was with them to be Tito Jackson, son out of a former music group called 3T," said Rolle who goes on to explain that during their walk through Marina Village, one of the security guards saw the portrait of Michael Jackson that he had on display and was highly impressed.

"When I recognize this, I immediately approached the guard that appeared to be in charge and requested if it was possible for me to donate the portrait to the kids because of how much their father had been an inspiration to me. The guard was so impress with my portrait; that he granted me access to the children – Prince, Paris and Blanket," and Rolle was able to show them their father’s portrait he had drawn.

Paris in particular was very impressed as Rolle showed them the vast portfolio of celebrity drawings and that The Celebrity Artist had met numerous of her favorite celebrities that she had always wanted to meet. She said “I have to get one of these for myself”, especially when she saw the portrait Rolle had presented to Sean Combs-Music mogul-A.K.A- P. Diddy with her father and hip hop legend, Notorious B.I.G .
Rolle went to work immediately and later that night the portraits were completed and and he phoned their representative. "We met in the hotel lobby and the representative who came to complete payment and collect the portraits was so impressed at how much the portraits look like Paris and TJ," said Rolle. It was approximately 2am. "He told me he couldn't wait to show the drawing to Catherine Jackson, Michael’s Jackson mom, and he asked if I knew that Michael Jackson was an artist too, to which I replied 'yes'."

The next day The Celebrity Artist had visits from TMZ reporters wanting to interview him and asked Rolle if he would be interested in selling the pictures he took of Michael’s Jackson's children. "I replied no, expressing that it would be of poor business practice and against my personal ethics to do so."

The Celebrity artist said that The Jackson Family is a great addition to his ever growing list of celebrity clients and he felt honoured to have met them.

Source: Thebahamasweekly / Billie Jean


BAD25 Promo Trailer To Air On The View. 17-10-'12

The US premiere of ABC’s “Michael Jackson: BAD25” promotional trailer will air this morning (October 18) exclusively on “The View” (11:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, ET). This first-ever glimpse of ABC’s 60-second trailer previews the documentary film by award-winning director Spike Lee, celebrating the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s landmark “BAD” album and tour.

The documentary itself will air in the USA on Thanksgiving Day (November 22) (9:30-11:00 p.m., ET) on ABC. In Germany it will air October 20 on VOX.

Source: MJFC / Talk TV World / Billie Jean


Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour Set To Come To The Nia. 17-10-'12

Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour by Cirque du Soleil, the highest grossing show in America, has confirmed that it will be visiting Birmingham's NIA on Tuesday 26 March 2013.

A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael's creative world, Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour unfolds Michael Jackson's artistry before the eyes of the audience. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael's creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop - celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.

Tickets go on sale on Friday 19 October at 9am, priced at £100, £60, £50 or £40 (plus booking & transaction fees). They are available from The Ticket Factory: www.theticketfactory.com or 0844 338 8000.

Source: Contactmusic / Billie Jean


Cirque du Soleil – Presales for Lisbon, Birmingham, And Manchester. 16-10-'12

Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour has well and truly landed!

New shows being announced:

We are thrilled to announce that pre-sale tickets are now available for Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour in Lisbon, Portugal, and Birmingham and Manchester in the UK!

Lisbon: BLUETICKET

Birmingham and Manchester: TICKETMASTER

Source: The Official Online Team of the Michael Jackson Estate™ / Billie Jean

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