Meeting the King of Pop impersonator, Dantanio Goodman, is like meeting Michael Jackson himself – complete with the hat, dark glasses and the signature gloves.
Dantanio is the main star of the Michael Jackson HIStory Show at the Artscape Theatre until Sunday February 10.
The two-hour show takes audiences on a musical journey back to MJ’s days as a member of the Jackson 5, his groundbreaking theatrics in the 1980s and his continued reign as the King of Pop into the 21st century.
Dantanio, who is from Kimberley, said he started singing and dancing at the age of 9.
“I think music started with my mother – she could sing, and my father played the guitar, so when I was 9, I started singing and dancing too.”
He said he was first exposed to Michael Jackson by his older brother who danced like the King of Pop.
“I started imitating my brother and by the time I was 10, I could do all Michael Jackson’s famous dance moves.”
Dantanio used to dance at school, and when he was 15, he did an MJ impersonation at a school event.
“Everyone screamed so loud I couldn’t hear the music. That gave me affirmation that I was doing the right thing, so I entered the Shell Road to Fame competition and they turned me down. They said I was too professional to be in an amateur competition. I then knew that I needed to expand.”
He was the lead singer for a band called Unique Transitions, which released their first album in his matric year. Thereafter, he moved to Johannesburg to further his musical career. “It was challenging – finding your feet in any job in Johannesburg is difficult – but my band was with me, and we were performing all over the city and abroad sometimes.”
While Dantanio always used to perform Michael Jackson covers with the group, things didn’t work out and he then decided to go solo. “I became frustrated performing on a local platform, so I entered competitions and put my profile on a worldwide platform. I needed to show myself to the world for my personal growth.”
At the same time, Showtime Australia, the producers of the Michael Jackson HIStory Show, were searching for somebody to play MJ in their show.
Dantanio was scouted by Michael Jackson HIStory Show director, Johnny van Grinsven, to take on the role, and flew all the way to South Africa to re-audition him.
“In 2015 Showtime Australia took me to the world. Our first show was in Singapore, where I performed in front of 3 500 people. Singapore overwhelmed me. The response was amazing. There was a lady who had been to seven MJ concerts and she couldn’t believe that I wasn’t him. That’s when I knew I had to keep going.”
Dantanio has since travelled the world, to places including London, USA, South Africa, Bahrain and Kenya, and the UK.
Asked if he had met MJ, he said unfortunately he didn’t have the opportunity to, but he has, however, met Jermaine Jackson, Michael’s older brother.
“He cried, and I was so humbled by this. He couldn’t believe that someone was carrying on his brother’s legacy in this way.”
This is the second time the Michael Jackson HIStory Show has been at the Artscape – the first run being in 2017.
Dantanio said when he first performed in the city, he didn’t expect the show to be so well-received.
“I think that Cape Town appreciates MJ more. I grew and the country grew too.”
Asked about the most challenging part of impersonating the King of Pop, Dantanio said: “It’s the full package – the voice, the singing, dancing and choreography, but the most challenging was the stamina. MJ used to dance from song one at a concert until the end, so I try to live a healthy lifestyle and rest a lot in between shows to keep up”. And Dantanio actually sings the songs.
“It’s important to give people the MJ experience, especially those who never got to see him in person.” He does his own make-up too. “I’m very particular about the make-up and contouring. It’s good to have a make-up artist but I prefer doing it myself. It takes about two hours.” He is also a Virgo, just like Michael, and has brown eyes – just like the King of Pop. When Dantanio is not doing Michael Jackson, he is living out in Blouberg, relaxing and reading. “I would love to visit the city and experience Long Street and other sites, but I try not to exhaust myself while I’m doing the show. It’s a boring life outside the Michael Jackson persona.”
Ultimate MJ fans can expect to dance and sing along to hits such as Billie Jean, Thriller, Smooth Criminal, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, Bad, ABC, Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough, Human Nature, Ben and many more.
Tickets range between R150 and R390 each. Book through Computicket or visit www.mjhistoryshow.com for more information.