Stayin' alive! The Immortal Michael Jackson is coming to town
Fans of the late ‘King of Pop’ will be able to relive all their idol’s hits in the UAE after it was announced that the ‘Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour’ by Cirque du Soleil will be stopping off in Dubai at the end of the year.
The organisers of the show, opening at Dubai World Trade Centre on December 30, say it’s the biggest, in scale, in Cirque du Soleil history.
“There’s approximately 60 performers in our show. That’s a lot of performers, acrobats, dancers, musicians, all things that Michael loved. Our tour is not only a rock style show but it is a theatrical show,” says Jamie King, (pictured inset) the show’s director. Jamie is one of the of the most prolific directors in the business of music tours, having worked with countless stars including Madonna, Rihanna, Prince, Shakira and Elton John.
“The audience gets to go on a fantastical journey into Michael Jackson’s head and feel and see the essence of Michael. He was very much the showman and he wore iconic costumes so the music, dance and acrobatics [in our show] had to be larger than life.”
Directing the show is a high stakes and personal job for Jamie. One of his first jobs as a young dancer was on tour as one Jacko’s back up dancers.
“It is full circle, that’s the best way to describe it... Michael is the person who trained me. I was in the school of Michael because I was a young dancer and I got hired to go on the Dangerous Tour in 1992.”
Jackson put on legendary live stage shows that still stand up as some the most spectacular of all time.
And Jamie learned a lot from the experience of working on one.
“[I learned] that idea that ‘no’ doesn’t mean ‘no’. Push, push until you get a ‘yes’,” he says. “Pushing the envelope, being a perfectionist, even thinking with an illogical brain, that anything is possible. For instance he had a guy called the ‘moon man’ [on the Dangerous Tour] - a guy in a jet pack who flew off the stage.”
Jamie says he took a conscious decision for there not to be a sole Michael Jackson impersonator fronting The Immortal tour. Instead there are central characters who explore aspects of Michael’s unique imagination.
Jamie adds: “The real guide and narrator is Michael through his music and songs. For instance we open the ‘Book of Tales’. Michael actually had the Book of Tales, which I discovered when I was at Neverland [Jackson’s private home]... There was this huge statue of a book and that is where that idea came from. We are like ‘where can we go next’, into the scary section, into the humanitarian section - they are all Michael’s stories.”
MUSIC CHOICE NOT BLACK OR WHITE
You might be a ‘Dirty Diana’ dame or ‘Billie Jean’ buff but everyone has their favourite Jacko hit. That is why Jamie King, director of the ‘Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour’, says cramming in all of the star’s many hits into a 90-minute show was a tough job.
“There’s around 35 songs, all in the show… there are some songs that we just had to have, so we created mashups and some new original material, like snippets of the song ‘Keep it in the Closet’, mixed into the song ‘Dangerous’. We creatively went down new roads.”
By Julian Pletts