Editor's note: Columnist Philip Potempa is reporting from Las Vegas traveling this week.
When I reviewed the quick U.S. visit of Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" show a year ago in July 2012, I knew it had been in the works for years, including plenty of wranglings and rights approval by the Jackson Estate. Chicago actually marked the production's 67th city, since the tour was unveiled and launched Oct. 2, 2011 in Montreal, before the U.S. debut in Detroit. It only played a Friday and Saturday in Chicago and then headed back to Canada and then on to a European tour.
It was fantastic, as my review reflected. On Wednesday, I finally caught its counterpart Cirque du Soleil show dedicated to our Region's claim-to-fame Jackson, and it fits like a glove, right at home as a now long-running hit show in Las Vegas, where Cirque is just as polished with a history of other entirely dedicated tribute showcases for the songs and music of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
On June 29th, Cirque du Soleil and the Estate of Michael Jackson opened the world premiere of "Michael Jackson ONE" here in Las Vegas, a new creation taking residency exclusively at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Directed by Jamie King, this entirely new show is the second creative project to be developed between Cirque du Soleil and The Estate of Michael Jackson after the top grossing "Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour," has now moved up to currently playing arenas in Asia.
"Michael Jackson ONE" is a sonic fusion of acrobatics, dance and visuals that takes the audience on an immersive journey through the music and spirit of Michael Jackson. Driven by Jackson's powerful, multi-layered music, heard like never before in a riveting, state-of-the-art surround-sound environment, it takes the audience through a series of seamless visual and musical tableaux, at the heart of a world that is in turn majestic, playful, magical and heart-warming. While "Immortal" focused on the journey of Jackson's personal life, from his days with his brothers starting out as the Jackson Five to his Neverland Ranch world, "One" concentrates on the entertainer's professional career journey and song after song of hits. Featured musical numbers include "Beat It," "Bad," "I'll Be There," "They Don't Care About Us," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "The Way You Make Me Feel," "Billie Jean," "Thriller," "Man in the Mirror" and "Black and White," among others during the 90-minute show spectacular.
With a cast of 63 dancers and performers, underscored by aerial performance, driving acrobatics, and vivid choreography that use the urban/hip hop idiom as a springboard for exploration, the name comes from Jackson's belief that all people are unique and equal, regardless of race or culture. As billed by the show marketing: "His message was one of unity, harmony and hope for a better world." And today, Jackson, who would have celebrated his 55th birthday last week, still remains THE ONE and only. For anyone looking for a never-to-forget Las Vegas show with impact, this is THE ONE.
Tickets range from $69 to $160 at (800) 745-3000 or cirquedusoleil.com/mjone or mandalaybay.com
"Michael Jackson ONE" is Cirque du Soleil's 8th production in Las Vegas since "Mystère" in 1993. Cirque du Soleil boasts 5,000 employees, including more than 1,000 performing artists from close to 50 different countries.