Cirque teams up with Jackson estate for shows
The Montreal-based Cirque and Michael Jackson's estate announced on Tuesday a partnership to develop a number of initiatives, the first of which will be a touring arena show celebrating the singer, who died suddenly last June.
"As a creative challenge, this project is the ultimate," Cirque founder Guy Laliberté said in a statement.
"We will produce a Cirque du Soleil experience not only worthy of Michael, but unlike any other we have created before."
A permanent Michael Jackson theatrical show is also to join similar music icon Cirque shows Viva Elvis, the recent Elvis Presley offering, and Love, its hit Beatles show, in Las Vegas.
The new Jackson extravaganza will be hosted at a MGM Mirage property and is slated for a 2012 opening.
Other projects in discussion include a nightclub tied to the Las Vegas production.
The Jackson estate and Cirque will share ownership of their joint projects and divide the costs and profits 50-50. However, the estate will also receive royalties from any of the King of Pop's music or other intellectual property used.
"This will not just be a tribute to Michael's musical genius, but a live entertainment experience that pushes boundaries," said John Branca, co-executor of Jackson's estate.
"Having attended Cirque du Soleil performances with Michael, I know he was a huge fan."
According to Branca and fellow co-executor John McClain, unreleased Jackson tracks may become part of the musical numbers in the two shows, alongside remixed versions of his hits.
McClain also revealed that an album of songs Jackson recorded but never released is also forthcoming in November.
Jackson, 50, died on June 25, 2009 — just ahead of highly anticipated comeback concert series in London. Authorities ruled his death a homicide, citing the primary cause of death as acute intoxication from the powerful anesthetic propofol, with other sedatives in his system also a contributing factor.
His personal physician at the time of his death, Conrad Murray, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the case.
With files from The Associated Press