Cirque du Soleil has confirmed months of rumors and announced plans to unveil a Michael Jackson- based show in 2011. Shows, actually—there will be two of them.
The first, a touring arena show, will debut next fall and get “an extended run” in Las Vegas before the permanent Jackson show opens in late 2012.
Assuming none of the existing shows—KÀ, The Beatles Love, O, Mystère, Zumanity, Believe or Viva Elvis—don’t close between now and then, the incoming MJ spectacle will make the eighth resident Cirque show in Las Vegas.
Cirque is keeping tight-lipped about where the show and its promised “special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub,” will be housed, but the day of the announcement, KLAS-TV reporter Dayna Roselli posted, “It’s going in Mandalay [Bay],” to her Twitter account, citing a “good source.”
Although the announcement comes less than a year after Jackson’s death (June 25), Vegas Seven entertainment writer Richard Abowitz thinks MJ would approve of the project. “Covering Vegas, I was always aware that Jackson was taking his kids to the Cirque shows. He was obviously a fan,” Abowitz says. “In many ways, Cirque and MJ are a perfect affinity group.”
Unsurprisingly, MJ’s estate will receive royalties from the projects—but it will also share in half the costs of “creating, developing, building and producing” the shows, too.
Abowitz expects the size and scope of this Cirque show to be unprecedented, as Jackson fans “expect a larger-than-life amount of budgeting and spectacle.” He adds that we may see 3-D technology worked into the production, too. “I am guessing this will be the largest budget for any Vegas show,” he says. “I don’t see how you can go any other way with MJ.”