Rahway, NJ- On February 25, audiences at the Union County Performing Arts Center might wonder if stepping into the theater has brought them back in time. Michael Jackson and Prince will be on stage. There will be songs about a girl named Billy Jean and about doves crying, splits and moonwalks; all performed in dazzling outfits right out of the 80’s and 90’s. The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience & Prince in Concert starts at 8 PM on the Main Stage, with performances by Michael Jackson impersonator Joby Rogers and Prince impersonator Luther Johnson with his band The Purple Dynasty. For those who never had the opportunity to see these two legends perform, the dancers in this show are as faithful to their memory as they come. It’s a must-see for old and new fans alike.
Joby Rogers has been impersonating Michael Jackson for 30 years, since he danced to “Billy Jean” at his high school prom. Over that time, he’s perfected his likeness to a T, from expertly using makeup to capture the physical resemblance to mirroring Jackson’s movements and overall body language. In 2003, Rogers was hand-picked by Michael Jackson himself, out of 116 total tribute artists that were submitted to Jackson, to represent the star at a show in New York City. To this day, he bears a document signed by Jackson stating this official recognition. Rogers was also chosen by celebrity photographer Dave LaChapelle to be photographed as Michael Jackson on the cover of Rolling Stone in 1999. He has appeared on television on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Comedy Central, MTV and many more, and even received an invitation to The Oprah Winfrey Show (which he unfortunately could not attend due to a scheduling conflict). Articles about Rogers’ incredible talent have also appeared in the New York Post, USA Today, Forbes and London Now, among many other publications.
Luther Johnson is the frontman of The Purple Dynasty, a six-piece Prince and the Revolution tribute band founded in 2005. Originally from Springfield, Massachusetts, this group has traveled the country to bring Prince’s music and likeness back onto the music scene. Like Rogers, Johnson embodies Prince by dressing the part to amazing detail, making audiences question whether or not they’re seeing Prince in person. That illusion is strengthened by Johnson’s ability to mimic Prince’s voice, as well as his talents playing both the guitar and piano.
Michael Jackson was a songwriter, vocalist, actor, record producer, dancer and philanthropist active from the year 1964 (in which he got his start in the Jackson 5), until his death in 2009. During that time, Michael Jackson wrote and performed hit after hit, creating elaborate music videos filled with original stories and never before seen dance moves. Some of Jackson’s songs, which fall under the genre of pop music, include “Rock with You” (1979), “Billy Jean” (1982), “Thriller” (1982), “Smooth Criminal” (1987), “Heal the World” (1991) and “We Are the World” (2004). Similarly, Prince, whose full name was Prince Rogers Nelson, was also a songwriter, vocalist, instrumentalist, actor, and dancer active from 1976 until only just last year, when he unfortunately passed away as well. The hit film Purple Rain (1984) showcases his full range of talents, in which he stars in the lead and performs multiple music numbers. Some of Prince’s hits, which are also classified as pop music, include “Little Red Corvette” (1982), “When Doves Cry” (1984), “Purple Rain” (1984), “Let’s Go Crazy” (1984), “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1993) and “Call My Name” (2004). Both artists received countless Grammys and other awards as pioneers of pop music. They commanded attention with their strong stage presences and affinities for glamour and over the top aesthetics.
Tickets for The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience & Prince in Concert range from $29 to $49 and can be purchased online at ucpac.org, over the phone by calling (732) 499-8226 or in person at the box office. There are also three Dinner and a Show options: patrons can choose $66-$69 tickets that include dinner beforehand at Luciano’s Italian Ristorante (1579 Main St), Patria Latin Bistro (169 W Main St) or The Irving Inn (1449 Irving Street), all of which are in Rahway. The Union County Performing Arts Center is located in downtown Rahway at 1601 Irving Street and is easily accessible to major roads and public transportation.