Source: Masslive – By Keith O’Conner
Cirque du Soleil may “Love” The Beatles, but they have immortalized the King of Pop with Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour.
The production, which had its world premiere in October 2011, makes its way to the Mullins Center in Amherst on Thursday.
“This is very different from other Cirque du Soleil shows and is set up more like a concert experience. While the premier acrobatics are still present, there is less theatrics and a lot more dancing than in any of our other shows,” said Laura Silverman of the Michael Jackson Immortal World Tour.
“The music, of course, is the driving force of the show which features an 11-piece band whose members previously worked with Michael Jackson, so it really feels like a concert,” she added.
The large-scale production, now on its second North American tour, combines Jackson’s music and choreography with Cirque du Soleil creativity. Written and directed by Jamie King, the show includes more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats.
King has worked with an array of superstars including Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, Shakira, George Michael, Elton John, Diana Ross and Jennifer Lopez.
For his first show with Cirque du Soleil, King brings audiences to a fantastical realm where they discover Jackson’s inspirational and abundant creative efforts. During the show, King promise that the secrets of Jackson’s inner world are unlocked – his love of music and dance, fairy tale and magic, and the fragile beauty of nature.
The musical extravaganza features more than 35 of Jackson’s songs, in addition to numerous bits and pieces of songs that have been used for the soundscapes and transitions.
To weave together the all-important musical components of the show, King ought out musical designer Kevin Antunes, who was given unprecedented access to the master recordings, and musical director Greg Phillinganes, who has worked with Jackson for more than 25 years, providing an unparalleled depth of knowledge of his music and live performances.
“Our goal is not to simply cover Michael, but to take his music to a whole new level,” King said.
The director wanted to integrate as many songs into the production as possible, so this meant mash-ups, remixes and new arrangements. It also meant moving them forward emotionally, weaving songs together in new ways so that the music feels new and fresh all the while respecting Jackson’s essence and his voice.
The show also features bigger than life-size video projections which not only act as storytelling devices, but play a key role in making Jackson’s presence felt.
Projection designer Olivier Goulet integrated video content such as footage of the superstar’s performances and real-time projections of the performances on stage.
“Some original Michael Jackson music videos are also shown along with archival footage from the estate of Michael singing as a child and with the Jackson Five. Through video and song his career is covered from the very beginning to the very end,” Silverman said.
Just as Beatle George Harrison was a fan and visited with Cirque du Soleil founder, Jackson, too, was a big admirer, Silverman said.
“Michael Jackson attended one of the very first big top Cirque du Soleil shows held in Santa Monica back in the 1980s and went to Montreal to meet with them. There was great mutual respect between both parties who hoped to someday work together. When Michael passed away, Cirque du Soleil and the Estate of Michael Jackson thought what better way to celebrate his legacy than with a show in his name,” said Silverman.
Event: Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour
When: Thursday, March 6, 8 p.m.
Where: Mullins Center, Amherst
Cost: $150, $125, $100, $65 and $50
For more info: Call (800) 745-3000 or online at ticketmaster.com
Read more: http://www.masslive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/03/