It’s been a year since Cirque du Soleil debuted its latest in-residence show in Las Vegas, and on a recent visit, we decided to pop by and check out what all the hype is about. The show is actually the second inspired by the work of Michael Jackson — the first, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, tours globally.
A nearly sold-out crowd packed the auditorium at Mandalay Bay last Saturday evening to pay homage to the King of Pop’s striking sounds and legacy.
For fans of Cirque, this dance-heavy, bass-infused, technology and tabloid-driven masterpiece is no less spectacular– if a bit less acrobatic-driven, than some shows we’ve seen previously.
The show, like many others, begins before the curtains go down, as tabloid images project across the stage and walls, and four ‘misfit’ teenagers steal from the audience into the stage, preparing to take their journey into the world of Michael Jackson. Paparazzi, which allude to the show’s soon-to-be revealed villains, Mephisto, snap images of unsuspecting audience members.
The first tableaux opens on a thumping note to ‘Beat It’ where drum and guitar-driven rhythms provide the beat for trapeze acrobats and dancers to draw the crowd into the world of Jackson. Voiceovers, images, and news clippings pass across the stage at various moments, inspiring the crowd to feel as ‘one’ with Jackson’s world.
In the second set, Mephisto, a machine made of radios, microphones, tungsten bulbs, televisions, cameras, and surveillance equipment, makes his first appearance along with the Tabloid Junkies, his dance corps and guards.
We progress through signature songs like ‘Smooth Criminal,’ toe-tapping along to the beat, as the four ‘misfits’ begin to realize their powers as they bond over their love for Jackson, acquiring items that help them realize their powers (a glove, hat, shoes and glasses), Wizard of Oz style.
Particularly strong cast members include Wink, a strikingly smooth dancer and contortionist, and Dirty Diana, a pole dancing phenom.
The signature ‘Thriller’ dance entices the audience midway through with its well-known moves and trampoline artistry that uniquely showcases an inverted trampoline and trampoline wall.
But the highlights of the show are ‘Man in the Mirror,’ where Jackson comes to live in a hologram illusion that makes it appear as if Jackson himself is dancing with the cast, and the Electric Love Parade during finale number ‘Black or White,’ where cast members dress entirely in black and are lit up with various lights embroidered on their costume, resulting in a fantastically choreographed light show.
The result? A mesmerizing show that fans, both old and new, of Michael Jackson will love for years to come.