This magical production by the Canadian circus arts company combines the music of Jackson with the unmatched artistry Cirque is known for, to create a spectacular fit for a king—better yet, the King of Pop!
Attendees pose with larger-than-life images of the late music icon and marvel at items like his red military-inspired jacket before taking photos at the paparazzi station.
“Michael Jackson ONE” opens with “Beat It” and the four sky-high acrobats on a bungee swing cause you to gasp with suspense, as dancers in white sequined swing in and out of the scaffolding built into the set.
From then on, Cirque and story creator Jamie King (he was a dancer on MJ’s “Dangerous” World Tour) marry breathtaking aerial and stage routines, with hit after hit, after hit, after hit from Jackson.
Though the inclusion of a live band and impeccable vocalists add to the experience of most Cirque du Soleil shows, they’re not missed at all in “Michael Jackson ONE.” Jackson’s music is the co-star of this show, and his voice and re-mastered songs in the production completely spellbind you.
New life is birthed into songs like “Bad,” “Can You Feel It,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Smooth Criminal” and almost 30 other hits all remixed by musical director Kevin Antunes—who enhanced each song sonically so that it would be amplified perfectly for the theater experience.
I was dancing in my seat for “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and then completely enchanted by the snowflakes that fell in the theater during “Stranger in Moscow.”
On “They Don’t Care About Us,” the heart of the former Jackson 5 front-man is captured, as the show displays visuals of global violence, the fight to cure HIV/AIDS and the plight of civil rights led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
While the performances by the 60-plus members of the Cirque team that bring this story to life each night is brilliant enough, attendees roar with applause when Jackson himself shows up to perform on “Man in the Mirror” thanks to a life-like hologram.
You would think that a virtual cameo from the King of Pop would be the show’s grand finale, but they continue to dazzle for three more songs after that.
“Black or White” is the last original performance of the night, before a curtain call to “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.”
I’ve intentionally refrained from being too descriptive about the Cirque du Soleil performances in “Michael Jackson ONE” so that when you experience it for the first time, the journey is as fresh and surprising for you, as it was for me.