In colorful costumes, elaborate sets and breathtaking performances, the whimsy and wonder of Michael Jackson endure. The tribute, which features more than 60 international dancers, musicians and acrobats, is presented by the estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil. By all descriptions, it's one part rock concert, the other a fantastically inventive, colorful spectacle. The production, which has been touring North America since October 2, 2011, is written and directed by music industry hotshot Jamie King, who has served as Madonna's creative director for a dozen years and directed world tours for Rihanna, Celine Dion, the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Avril Lavigne.
I've seen several Cirque du Soleil shows: They are always entertaining and at moments... enthralling. And although I never saw Michael Jackson in concert, his voice has been part of the soundtrack of my life. MJ was both beloved and maligned before his untimely death in 2009, and any reinterpretation of his music is bound to draw criticism. And yet, even reviews of the Immortal World Tour that bash the show's lack of cohesiveness, lament the "absence of one very gifted artist" (a fairly lame critique! and Michael does appear via video), or refer to the "guy dressed as Bubbles the Chimp" as "terrifying" seem to struggle to truly slam Cirque du Soleil's production. In fact, the reviews I read cemented my desire to see the show when it visits New England.
MJ's legacy is one that transcends music, and the show's prime achievement may lie in the messages--both humorous and poignant--that transcend the dazzle and the dancing, the aerial feats and the faux afros. Michael Jackson's passions and inspirations, his implorations about acceptance and the fragility of our planet, are as much on display as his groundbreaking dance moves and memorable lyrics.
Broadway World reviewer Linda Ann Watt wrote: "Reflecting on his life, made me reflect on my own." How often do we have a compelling opportunity to do that... while listening to great live music, witnessing a high-flying pageant and laughing at an oversized white glove puppet?
You'll have three opportunities to see Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour in New England in 2012. First up: two 8 p.m. shows at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 2 and 3. Tickets, priced from $50 to $250, can be purchased online via Ticketmaster.
Tickets for all shows can also be purchased by calling toll free, 800-745-3000.