"The demand is incredible. Our best-ever opening sale, and people are here nightly from all over the world."


Cirque de Soleil’s Second Michael Jackson Tribute Has Legs, Does Moonwalk

By Corey Mowery and Samantha Hissong

Cirque de Soleil’s Michael Jackson: ONE, premiered at Mandalay Bay on the Vegas strip last weekend in front of a packed house of awestruck fans.

The inaugural Jackson tribute show from Cirque, The Immortal World Tour, set the bar extremely high for the new production: It was the highest grossing tour in the U.S. in 2012 with $163 million. But the follow-up looks like a smash from the getgo.

In June, a well-informed bean counter told the Las Vegas Sun, “[ONE is] pretty well sold out with the current block we put on sale to Aug. 31. The demand is incredible. Our best-ever opening sale, and people are here nightly from all over the world. For the premiere, we will officially announce ticket sales through to Dec. 31.”

The opening night had a massive turnout, and received plenty of praise. Among the attendees were several Jackson family members, Berry Gordy, Justin Bieber, Neil Patrick Harris and the ever-present Pharrell Williams.

ONE lived up to Cirque’s description as “a sonic, tonic fusion of acrobatics, dance and visuals that take the audience on an immersive journey through the music and spirit of Michael Jackson.”

MJ’s own unmistakable voice provides the narration for most of the show over an array of colorful and elaborate sets, accompanied by live, personal, and music-video footage from various points in his career.

Director Jamie King focuses on four misfits who perform with Jackson’s iconic glove, penny loafers and fedora. Their part of an ensemble of 63 performers from around the world decked out in the requisite in spandex and sparkles, wowing the crowd with stunts and acrobatics involving slacklines, trampolines, and other devices.

During “Man in the Mirror,” fans even got to watch hologram technology bring MJ to virtual life. At least that’s what they want you think. But we have a sneaking suspicion it was his ghost, recently summoned by Michael’s “great friend” Randy Phillips, trapped on this terrestrial plane yearning for one more pelvic thrust and lean. Whether it’s a ghost or a ’gram, ONE showcases Jackson’s timeless music, creativity and charisma with the troupe’s characteristic inventiveness.

The boffo opening had to be a gratifying moment for estate co-executor John Branca (a senior partner at Ziffren Brittenham Branca et al., a Sony/ATV board member and one of the top music lawyers of the last 20 years), who has collected more than $500 million via carefully chosen undertakings aimed at preserving the pop icon’s considerable legacy. It appears that Branca has scored another huge win with ONE: Cirque President Daniel Lamarre predicts the show will run for 20 years.