Emma Rogers remembers.
“Hiding behind the sofa when I was really young when ‘Thriller’ was on,” said Rogers, the 30-year-old Londoner who directs and choreographs the “Man in the Mirror” show, which opened Tuesday at the Eldorado. “My mom was watching and I remember being petrified at the video.”
Michael Jackson’s music has been a memorable part of the collective cultural memory of several generations of people worldwide. So when a company puts on a show paying tribute to the King of Pop’s music, such as “Man in the Mirror,” there is no shortage of expectation on the part of audiences.
“People our age, we kind of grew up on Michael, so you get excited,” 26-year-old Los Angeles-based performer Alvester Martin, one of the singers in the show, said about auditioning for and landing the part. “You want to be part of it if you can. It brings excitement but it also bring a little bit of nervousness because you know, Michael Jackson, that’s a huge name to live up to, especially vocally.”
Martin and fellow singer Alex Bartosch, 24, from Huntington Beach, Calif., are both new to the show, which is starting its third year with the Reno stint. Martin said “Man in the Mirror” pays homage to Jackson, while Bartosch described it as a celebration of his music.
“No one’s been able to match it yet or do better,” said Bartosch, a self-described lifelong Jackson fan.
“You never go in saying, ‘I’m going to do better than Michael Jackson,’ ” Martin added. “I’m going to pay homage the best way that I can.”
Dwanna Orange, a 22-year-old also from Los Angeles, is the veteran member of the “Man in the Mirror” cast. She came on board when the show started in 2010 and has traveled with it across Europe. In fact, the worldwide appeal of Jackson’s music was really driven home to her by fans in Spain.
“We got on stage and everybody’s standing up and you have this great response from the crowd, they’re singing along with the music,” Orange remembered during an interview this week in the Eldorado Showroom. “You got off the stage and they can’t even tell you in English how much they enjoyed it. The fact we couldn’t communicate with our normal languages but as soon as you get on stage they’re singing everything in English, so I thought that was amazing. That right there shows how much music can bring people together and how much it can influence people.”
“Man in the Mirror,” featuring Jackson’s No. 1 hits including “Bad,” “Thriller,” “Billie Jean,” “Smooth Criminal,” “Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough,” “Beat It” and more runs Sunday and Tuesday through Thursday at 7 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 7 and 9:30 p.m. through Aug. 3 Tickets prices start at $19.95 with dinner and show packages from $29.95 and room and show from $49.95. For more information and tickets, call 800-648-5966 or visit www.eldoradoreno.com.