Here's a fun factoid for all of you Michael Jackson fans out
there: Following the success of "Captain EO," Michael Jackson and the
Imagineers actually spent about six months in the late 1980s developing a
follow-up attraction. One that would have reimagined the King of Pop as a
three-armed outer-space impresario called P.T. Quantum.
The "crash-landed" version of the retooled exterior of Carousel of Progress theater-go-round show building. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
The basic premise behind this proposed Tomorrowland
attraction (which was to have been built inside of the old Carousel of Progress
theater-go-round building) was that P.T. Quantum's space-going-circus had accidently
crash-landed at Disneyland. And in order to raise the money necessary to make
repairs to his now-damaged starship, this intergalactic ringmaster was - for
the first time ever - going to allow humans to come see his out-of-this-world assortment
A sleeker version of P.T. Quantum's interstellar circus reveals where this retooled attractionwould have been located in relation to all of the other rides & shows found in Disneyland'sTomorrowland section. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Among the "performers" that were to have been featured in this
Audio Animatronic extravaganza was a this multi-ton muck monster. Who-after she
slowly hauled herself out of the ooze that filled an onstage - was to have sung
a beautifully operatic quintet with her five mouths.
The outer space opera sequence that was planned for the P. T. Quantum show. Pleasenote the large-mouthed diva at the very center of this image surrounded by her swamp-dwelling orchestra. Which was to have performed a musical number that Danny Elfman was going to write for this proposed Tomorrowland addition.Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
But the show's finale was always supposed to be a
performance by P.T. himself. Who - of course - was going to be voiced by
Michael Jackson. The only problem was that the Imagineers could never get a AA
figure to do what Jackson did onstage. Which was to dazzle the crowd with a
high energy performance that skillfully combined dancing, singing and
This was kind of the same problem that Cirque du Soliel faced
when it was putting together its latest traveling production, Michael Jackson THE
IMMORTAL World Tour. As in: How do you create a show that celebrates the life
and the music of a man whose legendary performances are already burned into the
memories of millions of people around the globe? How do you pay tribute to an
irreplaceable performer like that without your efforts just seeming like some sort
of pale imitation?
Copyright Cirque du Soleil. All rights reserved
This was obviously an enormous challenge. Which is why the
key creatives at Cirque reached out to Jamie King, one of the leading concert
directors working in pop music today, to come write and direct THE IMMORTAL
World Tour show.
And King - as it turns out - was the perfect choice for this
project. Given that - back when Jamie used to work as a performer in the early
1990s - he was personally selected by Michael to come dance in his Dangerous
Concept painting for proposed sequence in the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL WorldTour arena show. Copyright Cirque du Soleil. All rights reserved
So King - because he worked in close proximity with Jackson
for all those months - had an intimate knowledge of the way the King of Pop
used to work. The types of shows that Michael used to like to present.
And Jamie took that knowledge - along with the expertise
that he's acquired during the 12 years that King had worked as Madonna's
creative director (not to mention directing world tours for Céline Dion, the
Spice Girls, Rihanna and Britney Spears) and then set out to create the
ultimate rock concert event. Something that would marry the Michael Jackson
songbook with the surreal artistry of Cirque du Soleil, with the end result
being an arena show that would hopefully please both new & old fans of the
King of Pop.
Copyright Cirque du Soleil 2011. All rights reserved
Obviously this was a tall order. But Jamie jumped right into
THE IMMORTAL World Tour project with both feet. Reaching out to 10 of the
world's best choreographers to handle the dance side of this show. Not to
mention recruiting Michael Curry (who's probably best known for all of the
spectacular puppets that he created for Julie Taymor's long-running, Tony
Award-winning stage production of Disney's "The Lion King") to handle the props
& puppets for this new traveling show.
As is the case with all touring Cirque du Soleil
shows, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour premiered in Montréal back
in early October. This cast of 65 (which features 25 dancers and 12 musicians)
has been performing in various cities in Canada and the Pacific Northwest
before the company then arrives in Las Vegas at the beginning of next month.
Where this new Cirque show will begin 3 ½ weeks of performances at the Mandalay
Bay Events Center starting on December 3rd.
Mind you, it's kind of appropriate that Michael Jackson THE
IMMORTAL World Tour will be making a stop at Mandalay Bay. Given that - in
early 2013 - a resident company of this new Cirque du Soleil
production will be taking up residence at this resort and casino. And among
the extra features that will be folded into the Las Vegas version of this show at
that time will be a new Michael Jackson-inspired lounge area for Mandalay
"But if all that is coming to the Mandalay Bay Resort and
Casino in 2013, then why should I bother to go to see Michael Jackson THE
IMMORTAL World Tour next month during its stop in Las Vegas?," you ask. Because
- from December 3rd - 14th - King of Pop fans will have a chance to
experience his legacy in a whole new way thanks to the Michael Jackson Fan
Copyright Triumph International, Inc. All rights reserved
The first official fan event ever to be authorized by the
Michael Jackson estate, Fan Fest will feature a one-of-a-kind display of
Jackson memorabilia including items from Neverland Ranch. There will also be
photo opportunities involving sets from some of Michael's more famous music
videos. And given that the Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour will have
just arrived in Las Vegas as Fan Fest is opening ... Well, it's only appropriate
that key creatives from Cirque du Soleil will make themselves available over
the course of this event. Where - during Q & A sessions -- they'll then
take fans behind-the-scenes to show what went into the creation of this
ambitious new arena show.
So if you're a Michael Jackson and want to have one Thriller
of a holiday season this year, Las Vegas is the place that you really need to
be next month. Where - in just one spot (i.e. the Mandalay Bay Events Center) -
you can experience both the Michael
Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour as well as the Michael
Jackson Fan Fest.
Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
And if this once-in-a-lifetime entertainment combo is now on
your Christmas to-do list ... Well, I think I know a few folks who can help you gain
entrance to these events without having to pay the sort of out-of-this-world
prices that you'd undoubtedly have had to pay to watch P.T. Quantum perform.