David Gest, Jacksons plan tribute tour to Michael
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Producer David Gest, Tito Jackson and others close to Michael Jackson on Monday unveiled a singing and spoken-word tribute tour to the late King of Pop.
"A Jackson Named Michael: Remembering a Legend," kicks off in the United Kingdom in March 2012, and follows another tribute set for October in Wales that has caused some controversy among fans of the "Thriller" singer.
Gest's show will feature Tito, a member with Michael of Motown singing sensations The Jackson 5, along with another sibling Rebbie Jackson and friend Deniece Williams singing tunes and telling tales about Jackson's life and career. Plans call for a question-and-answer session with audience members.
"The majority of the show will be reminiscences and stories about Michael that the public has never heard," Gest said in a statement.
The tour also follows the October U.K. release of Gest's documentary film, 'Michael Jackson: The Life of an Icon," which Jackson's mother and family matriarch Katherine Jackson called "a tremendous achievement."
"This is not my story, but the story of many of Michael's friends' recollections," she said in a statement.
Michael Jackson, who rose to fame in a family of singers before embarking on a solo career that included smash hits such as "Thriller" and "Billie Jean," died in June 2009 of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol which he used as a sleep aid.
His physician at the time, Dr. Conrad Murray, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in Jackson's death. He has pleaded not guilty and a trial will start in September.
Katherine Jackson is just one of the family's members who has backed a one-night tribute planned for Oct. 8 in Cardiff, Wales. But that tribute has caused some fans to cry foul over the singers who were invited, the charities benefiting from ticket sales and its timing during Murray's trial.
(Reporting and writing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Chris Michaud)