By Darlene Donloe
Fans of the late King of Pop will be thrilled with The Immortal World Tour Cirque Du Soleil, a musical tribute to Michael Jackson that features the incredible acrobatics, dancing and contortions of the famed troupe.
This production combines Michael Jackson music and choreography with Cirque du Soleil creativity to give fans worldwide a unique view into the spirit, passion and heart of the artistic genius.
Sponsored by Life Financial, the show is written and directed by Jamie King and features more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats.
Presented by the estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil, it’s a spectacular show, complete with videos on a huge screen, a tight band and a circus-like atmosphere that keeps one’s eyes dancing through the entire extravaganza.
The Immortal World Tour invites the audience inside an imaginary world inspired by Jackson’s Neverland estate. Once inside the gilded gates, the audience finds the Giving Tree a representation of the great oak tree in which Jackson would climb to seek inspiration and write his songs and poems.
It’s clear that Jackson’s fans have not forgotten him. Every time his image is flashed on a huge screen, the audience squeals with delight.
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour, a two-hour show choreographed by Travis Payne, who worked with Jackson for many years, is a storytelling vehicle that winds its way through the life of the King of Pop from his humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, to the eventual international throne on which he dominated the world of music.
Of course, what dominates the show is the musical genius of Jackson, who died three years ago at the age of 50. From his early beginnings with his brothers as the famed Jackson 5, to the music he made during his solo career, the show is filled with hit after hit after hit.
Whether you’re a lifelong fan or new to the creative genius of Jackson, there is a lot to tap your feet and snap your fingers to, there are some missteps within the show.
Unfortunately, it was hard to feel connected to some of the dancers, who seemed to be counting their way through the various routines. Some of the acts didn’t quite hit the mark, including a scantily clad woman who takes the stage to play the cello, or the contortionist who danced atop a book.
One of the real missteps was the misuse of Jackson’s signature white, sequined glove. The glove is a soft sculpture that allows the dancers inside to create various hand positions using their full body. A life-sized replica with someone inside flopped all over the stage instead of making a bold statement. It was clearly a missed opportunity.
There is also a giant hat large enough for two performers to hide inside and giant shoes, which directly references Jackson’s famous penny loafers.
There were some stunning visuals. An acrobat on a pole in the second act rocks the show, as does a high-wire acrobatic duo that nearly steals the show. There are some flashy dance numbers featuring performers in costumes that light up. The effect is highly visual and an audience favorite.
There are some fantastic moments in the show, which also features 32 of Jackson’s songs, including Billie Jean, Thriller, Shake Your Body Down to the Groud, Ben, Dancing Machine, Can You Feel It, They Don’t Care About Us, Dangerous, Bad, ABC, Closet and more.
It’s the music that is the driving force of the show as well as the video flashbacks that have audiences on their feet. The show is a bit disjointed, but true Michael Jackson fans will find it to be a Thriller.
On the Donloe Scale, D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likable), O (OK) and E (excellent), “Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour Cirque du Soleil” gets an O (OK).
For information: www.cirquedusoleil.com/MichaelJackson.