Legendary Michael Jackson celebrated in Cirque du Soleil show

2014-06-24T13:45:00Z 2014-06-25T17:37:14Z Legendary Michael Jackson celebrated in Cirque du Soleil showEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

The magic of majestic circus arts and the music of the legendary King of Pop combine on stage for the Chicagoland return of a unique production.

Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" visits the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. for two performances Friday and Saturday. Considered the largest arena tour to travel the world, the multi-media production is presented by not only Cirque du Soleil but the Estate of Michael Jackson.

"This show is very unique compared to other Cirque du Soleil shows," said Tina Cannon, a dancer with "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour." "It not only has the Cirque du Soleil amazing athletics but it also has the feel of a Michael Jackson concert."

The production features a cast of more than 60 Cirque entertainers performing in a variety of spectacular scenes corresponding to the life and career of Jackson. More than 30 of MJ's iconic hits star.

"Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" debuted in 2011 and was performed during the summer of 2012 at Chicago's United Center. (The current shows in Chicagoland this weekend coincide with the fifth anniversary of Jackson's death. He died June 25, 2009).

"We've been to all parts of the world with this show," said Cannon. "This has been a dream for me and a great job traveling around the world. We have great audiences and it's wonderful dancing to all the Michael Jackson songs."

Cannon, who said she "grew up on Michael Jackson's music," is a native of Rochester, N.Y. She lived in Chicago for eight years and danced with a variety of companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and River North Dance Chicago.

Prior to the "Immortal's" 2012 stop in Chicago, Jackie Jackson, Michael's oldest brother and member of The Jackson 5, spoke to The Times about the production. He said the Cirque show is a fitting tribute to his superstar sibling.

"I saw it in Montreal when it came out," Jackson said. "They put together a good show. People love it around the world," he said.

Among prominent scenes in the show which correspond to key moments in the King of Pop's life and career are "Wanna Be Starting Something;" "Fanatics Medley;" "Ben;" "Smooth Criminal;" "Mime;" "Human Nature;" "Dangerous;" "Man in the Mirror" "Dancing Machine," "Thriller" and others.

Key individuals who helped in the creation of the production, written and directed by Jamie King, include choreographer Travis Payne, who worked extensively with Michael and drummer Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett, who toured with Jackson.

According to Cannon, Jackson's music "bridges gaps."

"And his music spans many generations. We often see kids who are three years old who are dressed like Michael Jackson from head to toe and see older people who grew up with his music. And we also see people who like Cirque du Soleil and are fans," she said.

FYI: "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour" will be performed Friday and Saturday at Sears Centre Arena, Hoffman Estates, Ill. Tickets range from $50 to $175. Call (847) 649-2270 or visit SearsCentreArena.com or cirquedusoleil.com/MichaelJackson.

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