If you think you can visualise what the soon to be launched Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour by Cirque Du Soleil is going to be like, then think again! We are all aware of the professionalism, splendour and amazement that surrounds a Cirque performance, but if you take into account the genius of Michael’s music include such well known names as Greg Phillinganes and Jonathan ‘Sugarfoot’ Moffett then add the extraordinary designs of Zaldy, you may be halfway to imagining the magnificence that awaits anyone who has tickets to see the show.
We were fortunate enough to see about 90% of the show at rehearsal, much more than most of us imagined and although it is still being “tweaked” in places, it was amazing!
Zaldy’s costume designs for ‘Human Nature’ were out of this world. As artistes were suspended in darkness, their bodies were illuminated by numerous lights, which obviously moved as they did. It was a fantastic sight and I’m sure even the man himself would have sat watching in awe.
‘They Don’t Care About Us’ was another song which stood out for me. What I can only describe as alien soldiers, marched up and down to a fantastic new mix of this well known song…The back drop used was the one from the ‘This Is It’ movie where the soldiers span out into hundreds which added even more to this well choreographed piece.
From the audience appeared numerous performers holding large glowing red love hearts which seemed to come alive as they made their way towards the stage. There was a gigantic fedora and sparkly glove which had artistes inside and a huge pair of Michael loafers with sparkly socks which also became part of the performance.
Michael was there throughout, not only portrayed in the screens and by the performers but there in the songs and in voice too.
Throughout the performance you are taken on a journey…A journey into the world of Michael Jackson through the ‘singing’ gates of Neverland Valley and based around Michael’s ‘Giving Tree.’
The show begins with the Jackson 5 and covers ‘Ben’ too. A young Michael is also portrayed in a wicker basket of a large balloon with the initials MJ as it hovers high above the audience. There are some Jacksons tracks including a great mix of ‘Dancin’ Machine’ and ‘This Place Hotel.’
We were told this was the first time that Cirque had used a live band in a performance and it works, works really well because the music was spot on – concert standard. All the songs you expect to hear you will, with a few surprises included too.
No circus would be complete without clowns…and yes we saw these too, along with Bubbles which surprised a few of us at the time because it was the last thing we expected.
To see Zaldy discussing his work for the show and to see a couple of the costumes including those used for ‘They Don’t’ Care About Us’ and ‘Smooth Criminal’ please click this YouTube link.
To see the official trailer for the show, please click here.
Cirque Du Soleil – Background
Cirque Du Soleil was founded in 1984. The concept was to create a striking dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment which features spectacular costumes, magical lighting and original music.
In 1997 the ‘Studio’ was created. The ‘Studio’ is for the performers in the show, to help them prepare and be integrated with the other performers. It covers 75,000 square metres and is located in the Saint Michel District of Montreal, Canada.
Experts from more than seven specialised professions come together to ‘kit out’ the performers from head to toe. The material for the costumes is painted by hand, the shoes and accessories are all made from scratch and the artistes all have learn how to apply their own make-up.
The corridors of the ‘Studio’ are lined with artwork which their employees have created as Cirque du Soleil like to encourage interaction between various artistic fields. Every performer also has to have a mask made, like Michael did for ‘Thriller’ and ‘Ghosts’. The reason for this is that they can make wigs, glasses, hats or whatever is needed for the artiste’s next show, if he is performing somewhere else in the world.
All the above is done on an environmentally friendly theme too and they even have their own vegetable garden!
As we all know, Michael loved to watch Cirque Du Soleil and after taking a tour of this building, just as he had many years ago, it is easy to see why he was so fascinated not only with their performances and the “wonderment” they create, but also with this incredible building too. The whole place was Michael-like, right down to the cardboard promo they had of him in the wardrobe department.
Written by Jayne Ross on behalf of MJWN with very special thanks to: The Michael Jackson Estate, Cirque Du Soleil & MJ Online.