Entertainment Hive 2017

MiG Ayesa embodies the man in the mirror

by Honey B

Throughout his diverse career MiG Ayesa has had the privilege to step into the lives of some of music's most diverse and legendary entertainers - from Michael Hutchence to Freddie Mercury. This December/January, Ayesa will take on the undisputed King of Pop in Thriller Live at the Adelaide Festival Centre. "I think each job has its own challenges and I don't go into a role thinking that I am Michael Hutchence or Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson,'' Ayesa says. "You at least have to have hints to these performers' styles and phrasing, but I am not impersonating. "These guys are all legends and heroes of mine and to step in their shoes in different productions has been daunting, but I am also privileged and excited to do it. "Think about it - Michael Jackson is the most fascinating and unique pop star that ever lived, Michael Hutchence is the most sexy front-man and Freddie Mercury is the most bombastic!'' The in-demand musical theatre star, who started his career on ABCs The Ferals - next to Rattus the Rat, not MJs Ben - and is best-known for his time on Rockstar: INXS (2005) in which he came third, says Thriller Live opened on London's West End in 2009 just months before Jackson died. "As soon as Michael passed away everyone wanted to see Thriller Live. "I think people saw it as a way to reconnect with Michael Jackson and his music and relive some of the magic he had. "The show really does present the magic that was the man and his music and it also recognises what a genius Michael was.'' Thriller Live features five singers, 16 dancers, a 9-piece band along with pyrotechnics and two hours of non-stop hits from pop, rock, soul and disco in an amazing homage to Michael Jackson. With the costumes which give a nod to Jackson's style and the little tastes of "Michaelisms'' including a bit of moonwalking - Ayesa says that fans often become emotionally involved. "Some fans have broken down in the middle of the show and that is what the show is about - to get a taste of what it was like to see Michael Jackson.'' Ayesa remembers all too well where he was when he heard the news that Michael Jackson had died. "I was in New York at the time and I was walking through Times Square when my friend in LA texted me about it. "It was pretty shocking and brutal because he was doing this big comeback and he should have been shining so brightly as he was on the way back up.'' Ayesa also has his own connection to Jackson. "We would rehearse with INXS in this studio on Sunset Boulevard and it was the studio where Michael recorded Thriller. "There is a room there that overlooks the main studio and it was built for Bubbles, the chimpanzee, so that Michael could go between takes and keep Bubbles company and Bubbles could always see Michael through the window. "Everything comes full circle and it really does strike you when you are working on these things - everything has special meaning.'' While Ayesa laughs and admits he plays a bit of the "rock Jackson'' in the show - performing the hits Dirty Diana and Beat It - he says his favourite Jackson song is Man In The Mirror. "There are so many versions of Man In The Mirror but it's just perfectly written and the production on it is sensational. "And I like the groove on The Way You Make Me Feel - as soon as we start to play it in the show the audience grooves in their seats. "These songs are the best of the best and Michael Jackson's music is just so incredible - it's some of the best pop music ever written. "All generations love this music and the man. Thriller Live is a feel good show and a chance to enjoy Michael Jackson's music again in a live setting.'' Thriller Live!, Adelaide Festival Centre, December 30 to January 11. Bookings: BASS
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