Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil Team Up for Tour, Vegas Show
The crew behind Beatles and Elvis spectaculars tackles the King of Pop
When Michael Jackson visited Cirque du Soleil’s Montreal studios in 2004, the King of Pop and the troupe’s president, Daniel Lamarre, discussed collaborating on an elaborate stage production. Now, 10 months after Jackson’s death, those plans are coming to fruition ”“ with two shows based on Jackson’s music: a 2011 arena tour, which will simulate a Jackson concert, and a 2012 production in Las Vegas, where Cirque also has shows based on the music of the Beatles and Elvis. “When I met Michael, he said, half-joking, ”˜I’m an acrobat myself,’” says Lamarre. “The common ground is the visual. He used to do the most extravagant shows, and that’s what we do too.”
Cirque du Soleil, which spent nine months negotiating with Jackson’s estate, will have access to his catalogue, including new remixes and unreleased tracks. The tour will begin in North America, then branch out to places like China, Japan and Europe; the Vegas show, in a theatre yet to be determined, will use technology in cutting-edge ways, perhaps even creating a hologram of Jackson performing. “We’re thinking 3-D, the use of holograms, motion simulation,” says John Branca, co-executor of Jackson’s estate. “[Cirque] were completely into that.”
Jackson’s estate is also planning to launch a reality-TV search for a choreographer; talks with networks are taking place now. Sony Music, which paid $250Â million for the rights to Jackson’s catalogue in March, plans to release a soundtrack album coinciding with the Cirque shows, sources say.
So after their 2004 meeting, why didn’t Jackson and Cirque collaborate during his life? “This guy had a lot of different projects going on at the same time, and we had many different projects going on at the same time, and we never really found the appropriate moment to make it happen,” Lamarre says. “But we were bound to work together.”