Cirque du Soleil won't stop till it gets enough Michael Jackson. According to the Associated Press, the Canadian entertainment troupe is planning a new Las Vegas show based on the King of Pop's life and music.
The program, titled Michael Jackson ONE, will begin its residency at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Vegas Strip this summer. Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre confirmed Thursday (February 21) that the upcoming showcase will start previews on May 23, and will officially premiere on June 29.
“This is our second project with the Estate of Michael Jackson, which confirms how stimulating this creative partnership was meant to be,” Lamarre said in a statement, referring to the company's previous collaboration with the Gloved One's estate, Michael Jackson: THE IMMORTAL World Tour, which launched in 2011. "Michael Jackson is an all-time phenomenal artist, both timeless and contemporary. ... Through the use of cutting edge technology, we will produce a new Cirque du Soleil theatrical experience not only respectful of Michael’s legacy but also very distinctive from Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour.”
Lamarre specifically added that “none of the acts in the touring show [THE IMMORTAL] will be used in the theatrical show [ONE]. They will all be brand new, nothing will have been seen before. ... We see [THE IMMORTAL] almost like a promotional tour for our permanent show [in Las Vegas].”
As Billboard previously reported, THE IMMORTAL World Tour ranked as the fourth highest-grossing tour of 2012, behind live spectacles from Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and Roger Waters. Currently, THE IMMORTAL has dates booked around the world through June 28.
CBS notes that the upcoming 90-minute production will feature more than 60 dancers and aerialists. The official website for "Michael Jackson ONE" describes the production as "a theatrical evocation of Michael’s creative genius. Guided and inspired by his music, four misfits set out on a transformative adventure. By journey's end, they will personify Michael's agility, courage, playfulness and love."
Jamie King, the writer/director of ONE, said in a statement, "Everything [Jackson] does is with a childlike heart." King, who also directed THE IMMORTAL show and reportedly started his career as a dancer on Jackson's Dangerous World Tour in the 1990s, added, "For Michael, every day was fresh, every day was new, every day had to be bigger and better than the last one."
(ABOVE: A three-minute song and dance preview of the new MJ Cirque show.)
From casting to choreography, ONE is designed to bring to life Michael Jackson’s vision of universal hope and harmony.
In fact, the show's title was inspired by a short speech Jackson gave to the crew of his ill-fated This Is It tour in 2009.
"[The audience] wants wonderful experiences," the late singer was recorded saying. "We want to take them places that they’ve never been before. We want to show them talent like they’ve never seen before. We’re putting love back into the world to remind the world that love is important. WE’RE ALL ONE. That is the message."
Key to the show’s reinvention is a new take on fully integrating Michael Jackson’s legendary dance style with Cirque do Soleil’s signature acrobatics.
"We’re dealing with the creative legacy of Michael Jackson, so there’s a lot of responsibility that comes along with that," King said, adding that he and Cirque's "director of creation" Welby Altidor have worked to unite the performer’s spirit with that of Cirque du Soleil.
Altidor said that in imagining the stage and air spectacle, he asked himself, "How would Michael move if he were an acrobat?" and created dance and acrobatics that would honor Jackson’s legacy while pushing the boundaries of production.
"Anything is possible," King said, describing what he called "Michael’s energy," which he said has fueled the show’s entire creation process. "The sky’s the limit. Never settle for second best."
Cirque also had what Altidor calls "unprecedented access" to Jackson's master recordings for the show's production. "At times it will feel like being in the studio with Michael," he says.
Michael Jackson ONE will open on May 23 and run at 7 p.m. Saturday – Wednesday. Tickets are $69, $99, $130, $140 and $150, and limited Gold Circle Seating will be available. Its official premiere is on June 29, four days after the fourth anniversary of the King of Pop's death.
Tickets for Michael Jackson ONE go on sale on March 7.
Sources - 1, 2, 3, 4
(ABOVE: Part of Thursday's press conference. Click HERE to watch part 2.)
Preview performances for "Michael Jackson ONE" will begin on May 23, 2013 at Mandalay Bay.
PREVIEW PERFORMANCES SCHEDULE:
• Saturday to Wednesday at 7:00pm. There are no performances on Thursdays and Fridays.
TO RESERVE TICKETS:
• Call 877.632.7400 or 800-745-3000
• Go to www.cirquedusoleil.com/mjone or mandalaybay.com
• Visit the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office or any of the MGM Resorts International box offices.
• $69, $99, $130, $140, $150, plus LIMITED Gold Circle Seating. Prices do not include tax or fees.
• Tickets are available 120 days in advance of the performance date.