Cirque du Soliel honors the King of Pop with immersive, innovative experience

Michael Jackson’s music still resonates and sets records: The late King of Pop’s iconic “Thriller” album went 30 times platinum in the U.S., a first for any artist.

“Michael created music that takes us places so magical that we are swept away into another world where life is vibrant and colorful, and music is thrilling,” said Jamie King, creator and director of Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soliel, which has been drawing legions of entertainment fans to the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino since 2013.

“Michael Jackson ONE is the only production in the world where audiences will hear Michael’s recordings, experience his actual voice and see his actual visuals in one production. This is all made possible through our partnership with The Estate of Michael Jackson and their intimate, ongoing involvement,” said Matthew Nickel, the show’s company manager.

ONE is the only immersive production where audiences can experience the real Michael Jackson — his voice, his
visuals and his recordings. Jackson’s hits come alive with state-of-the-art technology, unparalleled dance and high-flying Cirque du Soleil acrobatics set to his actual recordings and footage made possible through Cirque’s partnership with Jackson’s Estate.

The iconic “Thriller” choreography is paired with ghouls performing acrobatic feats off a trampoline wall, while  in “Billie Jean” performers moonwalk in unexpected places and wear custom LED costumes that light up as they move.

Artists augment “Bad” by jumping and tumbling on an ultra-thin slack line anchored several feet above the stage floor. “Audiences are completely surprised during ‘Bad,’” said ONE performer Paulo Souza.

State-of-the-art technology has been “thoughtfully employed” to enhance music, voice and visuals, Nickel said.

Musical Director Kevin Altunes reimagined Jackson’s hit recordings in a unique and innovative way to enhance each of the mesmerizing acts envisioned by writer/director Jamie King, who, it should be noted, started his career as a back-up dancer for Jackson.

Each of the theater’s 1,804 seats is equipped with three speakers for a remarkable sonic experience. To set the scene, 26 projectors and GPS tracking show vibrant imagery across almost every surface of the theater, including audiovisual walls and LED screens, props and performers.

The theater at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino has been customized to enhance the audience experience. Pod lifts on the stage launch artists into the air, while a pair of 96-foot overhead tracks with trolleys allows artists to soar over audiences and perform touching scenes such as “I Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Since its debut, the production has evolved by tapping talents from top-touring show Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour -— the first joint production by Jackson’s Estate and Cirque — to create scenes that highlight the performers’ skill sets. Dancer Jean Sok takes center stage for the explosive dance scene “Can You Feel It.”

“Sok’s style is unique and certainly an inspiration to everyone,” said ONE artistic director David Gomez.

Still, Michael Jackson ONE stays true to the King of Pop’s creativity and essence as an artist.

“Michael Jackson ONE is the only production where you’ll find something for Michael Jackson fans, music fans, dance fans and Cirque du Soleil fans in one place. It combines Michael’s timeless music, artistry and iconography with vibrant choreography, driving acrobatics and soaring aerial performances in a captivating, innovative way,” Nickel said.

ONE runs Friday to Tuesday with performances at 7 and 9:30 p.m.; tickets start at $69. 


Jamie Wetherbe, Tribune Content Solutions

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