Cirque du Soleil is joining forces with the true entertainment legend Michael Jackson.

The magic of Cirque du Soleil and the genius of the King of Pop will be combined in the creation, development, and production of Michael Jackson projects based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson.

An arena-touring show is expected to debut in late Fall 2011 and a Las Vegas permanent show is expected to open in late 2012.

Special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub to open with the Las Vegas show, will also be developed.

THE ESTATE OF MICHAEL JACKSON AND CIRQUE DU SOLEIL TO DEVELOP MICHAEL JACKSON SHOWS

APRIL 20, 2010

Los Angeles (April 20, 2010) – Two great forces in entertainment have combined with the announcement of an unprecedented arrangement between The Estate of Michael Jackson, represented by Executors John Branca and John McLain, and Cirque du Soleil for the creation, development, production and promotion of Michael Jackson projects, featuring touring and permanent shows, based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson. Special lifestyle projects, including a nightclub to open with the Las Vegas production, will also be developed.

The first of these projects will be an arena-touring show in which fans will experience the excitement of a Michael Jackson concert, expected to debut in late Fall 2011. That arena show is anticipated to enjoy an extended run in Las Vegas in conjunction with longtime Cirque du Soleil partner MGM MIRAGE. The Las Vegas permanent show, also in partnership with MGM MIRAGE, is expected to open in late 2012. MGM MIRAGE will announce the location and plans for the permanent theatrical venue at a later date.

John Branca, Co-Executor for The Estate of Michael Jackson, commented, “This will not just be a tribute to Michael’s musical genius, but a live entertainment experience that uses the most advanced technology to push every creative boundary as Michael always did. Having attended Cirque du Soleil performances with Michael, I know he was a huge fan. We are excited to be partners with Cirque du Soleil to give Michael’s fans a truly unique way to hear, see and feel Michael’s music.”

Guy Laliberté, Founder of Cirque du Soleil, commented, “Michael Jackson is the King of Pop and an all-time phenomenal artist, both timeless and contemporary. As a creative challenge, this project is the ultimate. Through the use of cutting edge technology, we will produce a Cirque du Soleil experience not only worthy of Michael but unlike any other we have created before. We are also so pleased that our longtime partner MGM MIRAGE has once again joined us in presenting another unique creative experience in Las Vegas. ”

John McClain, Co-Executor for The Estate of Michael Jackson, commented, “There will never be a multi-faceted entrepreneur, humanitarian and innovator like Michael and it is only befitting that this partnership be with Cirque du Soleil. No artist electrified the stage more than Michael did. We expect that his fans will come away from these Cirque du Soleil performances feeling the exhilaration of a Michael Jackson experience and with an even greater appreciation of his legacy.”

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil added “We are honored and thrilled to be in partnership with the ultimate and most important record selling artist of all time. This association between two international entertainment brands promises to deliver to fans of both Michael and Cirque du Soleil unique artistic experiences”

Bill Hornbuckle, Chief Marketing Officer of MGM MIRAGE said “Las Vegas is known worldwide for its unparalleled entertainment offerings, many of which have been developed by the creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil. We have been honored to call Cirque our partner for many years and are humbled now by the opportunity to work with them to create a show that will commemorate one of the most legendary forces in entertainment in our lifetime.”

Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael Jackson commented. “Our family is thrilled that Cirque du Soleil will pay tribute to my son in such an important way.”

The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil will each own 50 percent of each Michael Jackson project, sharing equally in the cost of creating, developing, building and producing the projects and in the profits from each project. The Estate of Michael Jackson will also receive royalty payments on various aspects of its intellectual property used in the Michael Jackson projects

SEVEN WORLDS ONE CITY

A just-announced collaboration between Michael Jackson’s estate and Cirque du Soleil also includes plans for a reality TV show along the lines of “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” to discover a young choreographer to help develop an arena tour and permanent show in Las Vegas built on Jackson’s music, dancing and life story.

The TV show, in the discussion stage but targeted to be on the air sometime early in 2011, would audition young dance enthusiasts from across the globe in search of “someone young, who is cutting edge, from the outside, someone in the streets, who can bring that style that no one’s ever seen before, like Michael always did,” John Branca, co-executor of Jackson’s estate, said Tuesday.

The parties believe the combination of Jackson’s name, Cirque’s reputation and a talent discovery show similar to two of the most popular shows on television right now will make it a hit.

The show’s winner would join two other professional choreographers to be selected by the team assembling the concert-style arena tour slated to get under way in the fall of 2011, and a Jackson-themed permanent show in Las Vegas.

“There is not a lack of creativity around the table,” Cirque President and CEO Daniel Lamarre said Tuesday. “We’re just starting to work closer together, and those are the initial ideas we’ve decided to go ahead with. But there are other ideas. We will be pursuing lots of lifestyle ideas. That’s only the beginning of our bold, creative forces working together.”

The deal with Cirque is just the latest in an aggressive series of grand-scale projects Jackson’s estate has undertaken in  recent months, in addition to the concert film and DVD “This Is It” from the tour that was aborted when he died last June and a new long-term contract with Sony Music covering reissues as well as new compilations of previously unissued recordings and, potentially, video games.

— Randy Lewis

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/music_blog/2010/04/michael-jackson-and-cirque-du-soleil-reality-tv-show-coming-too.html