Two days ago, tickets for the posthumous Michael Jackson film This Is It went on sale. Surely many of you already have tickets. But for those of you who are tending to 20 things at the same time, some more urgent than others, I just wanted to tell you to stop whatever you’re doing right now and search for showtimes and tickets by zipcode here, otherwise you’ll have no choice but to wait for the DVD release.
I’m especially supportive of this film because its director and producer, Kenny Ortega, the son of first-generation Spanish Americans, is a legend in his own right. He’s choreographed the Olympics, the Oscars, a Superbowl, Madonna and MJ’s tours, Dirty Dancing (RIP Patrick Swayze), and, more recently, the hugely successful High School Musical trilogy, which he also directed. His latest, This Is It, draws from over 100 hours of behind-the-scenes footage in between April and June as MJ rehearsed for what would have been his epic, sold-out shows in London’s O2 Arena.
Almost as fascinating as larger-than-life celebrities are the people who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to keep the machine well-oiled and running, and this is certainly true of This Is It, on which Jackson and Ortega collaborated as true partners, from stage design to choreography, from costumes to morale (in the trailer, Ortega is seen leading the crew in prayer).
A year ago, Latina had the privilege of interviewing Ortega for “6 Simple Rules,” a column reserved for Latin legends in the world of entertainment. At the time, we asked him how he deals with pressure, (and can you imagine the pressure Michael and him were facing as they prepared the King of Pop’s final tour?). His answer stayed with me:
“Focusing on the pressures of work diminishes the time you have for other things. I’ve learned to be in charge of what motivates me. What kicks you in the butt every day shouldn’t be fear. It should be the desire to be the best you can be—and inspire others to do the same.”
Watch the trailer for This Is It below.