For one of my Christmas presents, I received a ticket to Cirque du Soleil's The Immortal Tour based on the music of Michael Jackson, much like Cirque's Love is centered around the music of The Beatles. The ticket ended up being for the best possible seat to view the show- right up front but, not a floor seat so that I could see the entire show without straining too much. We made it into a girl's night and my mom and niece joined me.
We found great parking at HP Pavillion and found our way to the door. There seemed to be a ton of people there but, it didn't take too long to get inside. We walked in, bought some (expensive!) merchandise and headed to our respective seats. As the clock ticked down toward showtime and my niece was keeping track, slowly inching her way anxiously toward my seat, the audience started chanting "Michael! Michael! Michael! Michael!" An audience member dressed exactly like MJ started dancing in the aisle of the nosebleed seats and everyone wondered aloud if he was part of the show. As I tried to calm Jenna down and explain to her that shows never really start on time (don't you remember how it is backstage for a show?), she had damn near climbed into my lap with anxious anticipation when the lights went dark and the chanting turned to cheering.
My favorite parts of the show:
The guy who acted as Michael Jackson (via dance, of course): All I could get on this guy is that his name is Josh and he's from Vegas. I've looked all over for cast info and can't find anything, I guess I should've sprung $25 for a program. In any case, he plays a Mime who dances out MJ's conciousness or voice of the song. He Tics, Tuts, Glides, Waves and Moonwalks amongst a veritable cast of funky characters and always brings you right to him. You can tell he feels every beat, just like MJ and he has a great way of showcasing each beat.
The aerial acrobatics for I Just Can't Stop Loving You: I tried to find some video to add here because words can't possibly do justice to this amazing act but, they all were horrible. It made me wish I had just recorded it but, I was with my niece and didn't want to set a bad example! So, I should try my best to describe it here until I can find a suitable video for you. This was by far the best part of the show. There were two aerial acrobatics, one man and one woman with a small frame. This is an important note because for the first part of the routine, the muscular man hangs from the woman's arms for a looooong time and I swore she was going to drop him. He does a bunch of twists, turns, and poses and she holds strong. Then, they switch places and while he lays across a ring, she WALKS ON TOP OF HIS CHEST. She gets into position and continues to do a set of amazing poses, spins, twists, and one armed miraculous tricks. They do all of this about 50 feet off the ground.
The bookworm: Introducing the Thriller segment, you knew it was going to be something spectacular and there wasn't any disappointment on my end. The contortionist comes out of a slit in the ghost stories book and continues to slink and slither amongst the pages as the Mime turns each page. The contortions are simply breathtakingly amazing.
This shot from Dancing With The Stars is a good representation of all my favorite parts of the show.
The One-Legged B-Boy: I loved this guy. He kept up with the regular dancers and I saw him hustle (what an understated word to use) off the stairs and to his next spot, faster than I probably could've done it. He would chuck his crutches and flip, turn, spin and breakdance his heart out. After the show, I asked my niece- how many times do you think that boy has heard no? He'd never dance again, he'd never walk, he'd never be the same? She said, after a thought, "Lots." Then, I told her to let this be a lesson. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do anything because they're wrong. You can do anything.
The tumblers: Holy cow! These guys were awe-inspiring. They would often tumble so close to each other you thought that they would trip each other. Perfectly timed and excellently executed, these guys were incredible.
The dancers: This Cirque focuses mostly on dancing as opposed to the regular Cirque shows that focus on more circus style performances such as tumbling, aerial acrobatics, contortionists, pyrotechnics, tightrope walkers, etc. Of course, they are in the show (except for tightrope walkers) but, with a Michael Jackson show, you have to honor his talent and focus on what he loved to do most: dancing. These dancers, mostly breakdancers, feel Michael Jackson and they move with the passion and musicality that MJ himself used.
The Pole Dance for Dangerous: There's just no better way to explain it. The girl was dressed as Annie in Smooth Criminal, shot up the place with her Tommy Gun and then, stripped out of her zoot suit to a sexy, glittery bikini, jumped on the pole and performed a jaw dropping routine. She half danced, half contorted her way up and down the pole. She was ah-mazing and Dangerous.
This show was fantastic. I found Love to be more entertaining, more like a typical Cirque show. It also had a great balance of dance and acrobatics. Immortal was definitely jaw dropping and I loved how they honored dance and Michael Jackson. I just thought there could've been a bit more trickery and Cirquetry. Not enough for me to take it down a star but, enough that it should be noted here.
This is going to sound weird but, I could feel MJ there and I thought how happy and proud he must be of this talented cast showcasing his life's work for a myriad of people of different ages, races, creeds, languages, cultures and backgrounds. This is what he would've wanted- all of us together, under one roof, clapping, singing, and amazed at the limitless power of a human being's body and spirit and a legend's influence.
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