Michael Firestone has always been a huge Michael Jackson fan.
“I thought he was super cool and then I found out he was a kid performer or child star. I always thought that was the coolest thing growing up,” he said.
Firestone will bring his tribute to Jackson, “I Am King: The Michael Jackson Experience,” to the Lancaster Performing Arts Center on Nov. 9 for a sold-out performance.
The show includes renditions of Jackson’s biggest hits, including “Bad,” Billie Jean, “Thriller,” “Beat It” and “Rock with You.”
Firestone performs between 100 and 180 shows per year. That’s down from a high of approximately 390 shows per year, when he would perform two shows a day.
“I must be a lunatic because when I hear people screaming, my body’s like, ‘Nope, you’re going to get out there and push it til you pass out,” he said.
Firestone first started playing around, copying Jackson’s moves when he was six years old. He started studying Jackson more, when he was 13 years old.
“Like super, maybe over the top,” he said. “My dad wasn’t very happy. He’s happy now. Then he wasn’t. He was like, ‘What are you doing?’”
Jackson mesmerized fans with his fluid dance moves, but Firestone said part of the magic was what Jackson wore on stage.
“Michael Jackson was a genius,” he said. “The high-waters were for a reason. He was just crazy talented, way ahead of his time. Nobody comes close today, at all, especially me. If I can give 5% of what he gave, then I’m happy and I never get to that. He’s just so good.”
Firestone is considered one of the premier Michael Jackson tribute acts, even if he holds himself to a higher standard.
“You’re hard on yourself and you wake up the next day wanting to be better,” he said.
“I Am King: The Michael Jackson Experience” features a band and dancers.
“We try to squeeze as much as we can in an hour-and-a-half,” Firestone said.
The show includes the familiar Jackson costumes, the “Beat It” dance and the “Thriller” dance.
“We try to capture that ‘Billy Jean’ moment when he’s doing his solo,” Firestone said. “We just try to keep it as authentic as possible. If he didn’t do it, I don’t do it.