Michael Firestone admitted when he learned Michael Jackson died in 2009, he no longer wanted to continue doing his tribute performances of the King of Pop.
But within months, Firestone was back on the road again, acting like, singing like and dancing like one of the most popular entertainers of all time, something he’d done for years before Jackson died.
Firestone will perform in “I Am King: The Michael Jackson Experience” Sept. 20 at the Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet and Sept. 21 at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.
“It is way better than anything I’ve ever done,” Firestone said of the production. “Everybody on stage is a piece of the puzzle, the band, the dancers. It isn’t just me. It’s the whole package. The crowd really gets into a super crazy state, like a trance almost.”
Firestone, who has been portraying Michael Jackson on stage since he was 12 years old, recalled the day Jackson died — as well as conversations he’s had via the Internet with Jackson over the years.
When Jackson died, Firestone said he was in bed and awakened by many phone calls from news channels, friends and family.
“I hate to sound dramatic, but I knew,” Firestone said. “There was this feeling in the air. I knew he had passed. I didn’t cry for two days, but when I did, it just didn’t stop. And I said, ‘I’m done. I’m not going to do this anymore.’ I quit for about a month, and then all these wannabe really terrible impersonators came out overnight, and I said ‘I want input into this.’ I went full throttle. I put all my other music on the back burner. I just loved Michael Jackson and I wanted to do it right.”