The legendary, “King of Pop,” may no longer be around to fulfill our musical needs, but Cirque du Soleil is working on keeping his legacy alive.
Celebrating the well-known work of Michael Jackson, who was a fan of Cirque du Soleil, they are giving life long fans of the star a look into his life through the fusion of his music and Cirque du Soleil’s originality.
The show consists of Jackson’s music, a live band, Cirque visuals, acrobatics, contortion, aerial acts, and 64 artists, including dancers, musicians, and acrobats, said Cirque du Soleil publicist, Laura Silverman.
“It’s basically a combination of the acrobatics and exciting theatrics that Cirque du Soleil is known for combined with the popular music and dance moves that Michael Jackson is known for,” Silverman said. “All to create this great tribute to Michael Jackson, his life and his work.”
Cirque du Soleil will present “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World,” one of the largest touring productions in the world, Saturday, June 9 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, June 10 at 4 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
“The Immortal World” was written and directed by former dancer on Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” tour in 1992, Jamie King.
King worked with Jackson several years after that and when creating this show, hired a support staff with others who were also a part of Jackson’s life. During the creative process, these theater members spent months at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, in order to learn even more about the artist that they then incorporated in this tribute.
Silverman said that there are numerous elements of Jackson, his life and his style you see throughout the production. Such as the Neverland Ranch, never before shown videos of Jackson singing as a child, and costume components.
Zaldy Goco, who has not only worked with Jackson, but Gwen Stefani and Lady Gaga, designed all the costumes, which include the well-known looks of Jackson along with some unique designs.
“You get some of the iconic looks like red leather jacket, penny loafers, and silver gloves, but beyond that, there are some that are flashy and bright,” Silverman said. “There’s about 250 different costumes and in some of the numbers the costumes literally light up with LED lights and the lights are all choreographed to the specific number, two or three numbers that have this LED function to them, which has never been done before, its very unique and edgy.”
The choreography is another huge part of this show, considering Jackson’s iconic moves, and main choreography Travis Payne, has also worked with Jackson before.
Rita Spider, a dancer in the show, originally from Portugal, said that the opportunity to work with choreographers who had worked with Jackson was an immense learning experience.
“We had some of Michael’s choreographers with us so we really got into the spirit and the energy of Michael,” Spider said. “All the details of the hands and the feet and the hips, everything that he did, we got the chance to learn it and it was really interesting and really inspiring. I have been learning a lot.”
Silverman said that although the show consists of not only Jackson’s songs, but also his style and dance moves, that no dancers or performers are meant to actually be him.
“There’s no impersonator in the show, no one’s trying to impersonate him, because truth is, Michael was one of a kind and he was hugely gifted in what he did,” she said. “But all the artists involved, they’re just dancing for Michael every night, they want to be the best they can for him.”
According to Silverman, there is also an emotional component to the show, especially when the videos of Jackson singing as a child are shown.
“You hear his voice and you realize how pure and good his voice was he was just everyone members him for his dancing but his voice was amazing,” she said. “You hear him singing with such a mature voice at such a young age and knowing he’s not around anymore.”
Like other Cirque shows, “The Immortal World” is composed of the same fantasy and visual elements but is also slightly different.
“It really is like a pop rock concert, it’s music that people across the board know and there is a lot more dance in this show than in other Cirque du Soleil shows, because Michael Jackson was known for his dance, and you cant have a Michael Jackson tribute without incorporating that,” said Silverman. “And like the other Cirque shows, it’s very entertaining and you’re still going to see a lot of acrobatics that are jaw dropping but unlike those shows there really is very high energy and you watch it and you’re really waiting for Michael to walk out on stage.”
Whether you are a die hard Michael Jackson fan or experiencing his music for the first time, “The Immortal World” is an inspiring show to witness, said Silverman.
“Michaels life was cut way too short so, really, this is just a way that we can celebrate his life and everything he brought, celebrating his talent and his music and the joy he brought to so many people,” she said. “I think the audience is going to see that and love it and be moved and excited and want to get up and dance.”
Cirque du Soleil presents: “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World” June 9 at 8 p.m. and June 10 at 4 p.m. at Value City Arena at the Jerome Schottenstein Center, 555 Borror Dr., Columbus, 43210.
Tickets are $50 to $250 each.
For more information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.