LANCASTER – The most popular attraction of last year’s inaugural “BooLVD” Halloween and Harvest Festival is back for an encore performance at this year’s event from 5-9 p.m., Saturday, October 29th on The BLVD.
Thriller will be performed on the event’s main stage, at the intersection of Ehrlich Avenue and The BLVD, at approximately 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. after the Fright Night Singers’ opening act.
Two of the chosen few for the original video were Kim Blank and Casey Cole, who have been integral to pulling the current group together and ensuring that the integrity of the original production is maintained when they perform for nostalgic fans.
“It was a dream come true to be hired for this job, and to be working with Michael Jackson, and choreographer Michael Peters. Though we couldn’t have known how big an impact the video Thriller would have to this day, we all knew that we were working on a ground-breaking project, with the highest caliber artists, talent and technicians,” says Blank.
“Everyone is coming back this year for a repeat performance,” said Cheryl Baxter, manager for the Thriller performance troupe. “It was such an exciting event last year, and all of us enjoyed performing for such enthusiastic crowds. We all loved remembering how to perform it the way that it was taught by the original choreographer Michael Peters. I love that this information is being passed on to the younger dancers that are sharing the stage with us.”
Baxter was one of the casting directors on the music video in 1982, as well as for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” tour in April 2009.
“It was an incredible experience to sit and listen to Michael [Jackson] discuss each dancer’s style, and how they would fit into his vision of his show” Baxter said.
Returning to impersonate Michael Jackson will be Brian Drake, a well known hip hop instructor in Los Angeles. Drake has trained numerous dance groups and artists, and currently serves as the choreographer for the California State Championship winning hip hop crew, Makadoutious. At 2 years old, Drake watched the Thriller video and was inspired to become a dancer.
All of the dancers are from Los Angeles, and most have worked together on film, television and theater, for more than 30 years. Some of the movie credits the members of the group have to their names include Xanadu, Grease 2, Pennies From Heaven, Tap, Death Becomes Her, The First Daughter, and 500 Days of Summer. Additionally, many of them have danced for the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and the MTV Awards.
One of the youngest members of the group is Lancaster’s own Lauren Hudson, a founding member of “The Stunners” who opened for Justin Bieber on his ‘My World’ tour in 2010.
“All of us are looking forward to dancing and performing Thriller again,” says Baxter. “John Williford is a Broadway dancer and performs with us, but is also an incredible makeup artist. He is meticulous with each of us, and with the costumes and original choreography it makes us feel like we are really re-creating Thriller and bringing it back to life.”
The BooLVD Halloween and Harvest Festival takes place from 5 to 9 p.m., Saturday, October 29, on The BLVD between Beech and Gadsden Avenues. This year’s BooLVD will feature a variety of fun activities and entertainment, such as pumpkin carving, hay ride, carnival games, spine-tingling BLVD tours, a semi-scary movie, pumpkin decorating, a mini farmers’ market, and much more.
Trick-or-treating with The BLVD merchants will be offered from 5 – 7 p.m. and a children’s costume contest will take place at Ehrlich Avenue.
Additional entertainment will include the Fright Night Singers, who performed for Universal Studios, both in Hollywood and Japan, and the Fashionate Rhythm Dance Company, whose performers have been featured on “So You Think You Can Dance,” and numerous music videos.
For more information about BooLVD, visit the City’s website, or call (661) 723-6077.
(Via press release from the City of Lancaster)