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Michael Jackson's Thriller on Broadway: Who Wants Werewolves When You Can Have Filipino Prison Dancers?

As we were rolling awake this morning, the radio catching us up on the day's news, a report came on NPR about a new musical that the Nederlander company is producing for Broadway. The producers, who made a bundle off its Mama Mia juggernaut, bought the rights to adapt Michael Jackson's Thriller on Broadway. The album was recorded at Westlake Studios on Santa Monica in West Hollywood, and according to the report, the storyline of the musical, predictably, will be about a young man out on a date who turns into a werewolf. Obvious, right? Even before the production hits the stage, it's already played itself out our heads. We know the Thriller video. It's awesome. But to adapt that story would be incredibly lazy.

A better angle involving Thriller would be about the 1,500 CPDRC inmates of the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, Cebu, Philippines who learned the entire dance routine to "Thriller."

The YouTube hit contains all the ingredients. Think about it:

Setting:

A prison, with a courtyard, jail cells, a warden's office, and group showers.

Cast:

Dangerous inmates (metaphorical "werewolves" who landed in the clink because of the full moon).

Security guards (the protectors, and the tormenters)

Dance instructor. (a force of evil, or good?)

An Apparition of Michael Jackson

Story:

A retired professional dancer, down on his luck, lands a job as a security guard at a Filipino prison. Inmates find out he was a dancer when they see him doing a routine to "P.Y.T." in the cafeteria, and he's immediately ridiculed. He shows some of them some wicked hot dance moves in the courtyard ("Beat It"). A few of the bigger, tougher inmates take a curious interest (one of them named Billy Gene). Fights ensue ("Wanna Be Starting Something"). A few more people dance, and the touching and spinning creates tension among the men ("Human Nature"). Maybe there could be a scene where the group "conjures" the real Michael Jackson, who appears to show them how to moonwalk. More dancers get interested, and then more, until the whole prison is consumed with dance! Big closing production featuring a stage full of prisoners, the warden, the dance instructor, the security guards all doing the "Thriller" dance. Drop curtain! Bravo! Thriller!

NEDERLANDER: All the sudden we're serious about this. Who wants werewolves in their Thriller musical? Take a chance!


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