Moonwalk with Me: Cirque du Soleil’s “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour” in Memphis

Posted by Holly Whitfield | June 21st 2012 3336 0

I'm pretty sure that if Michael Jackson were still alive, he would be a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil's new show, "Michael Jackson: the Immortal World Tour". The company was in Memphis last night to perform at FedExForum.

Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" combines the music of Michael Jackson with a live band, dancers, video and the troupe's signature acrobats and contortionists.

Image credit: OSA Images

(Image credit: OSA Images)

The show, which runs two hours, is a dizzing, loud trip through a world of dense whimsy. From the opening moonwalk to the closing parade of giant world flags, the show is celebration of Michael Jackson's incredible talent and quirky personal life (there's a troupe member dressed up as Bubbles the chimp who appears throughout the show).

All of the classics are represented. "Smooth Criminal" is performed by a massive cast of dancers dressed as gangsters and "Bad" features portions of the original music video playing behind a large pair of penny loafers and one dancing glove that prances around like a bedazzled Hamburger Helper hand.

Image Credit: OSA Images

(Image Credit: OSA Images)

At points the show is touching, like when a video of young Michael singing "I'll Be There" is played to a live piano accompaniment by the show's musical director (who worked with Jackson for more than 20 years). On the whole, though, the show seems to want to recreate a giant, spectacular fantasy version of Jackson's lost childhood.

The does have its fair share of ridiculousness, though. A stern army of cyborgs goosesteps its way through "They Don't Really Care About Us" and there are frequent appearances by a very talented musician who is dressed like Xena Warrior Cellist.

Image Credit: OSA Images

(Image Credit: OSA Images)

While everyone in the show's 63 person cast is obviously insanely skilled, I was most impressed by Jean Sok, an acrobat with only one leg and pole dancer Felix Cane, whose dance during "Dangerous" stole the show. And while Cirque added their own interpretation to many of the songs, it was nice to see them leave some of Michael Jackson's iconic choreography (like the "Thriller" dance) alone.

There's something comforting in knowing that no matter how many dancing cyborgs, ninjas, pole dancers or shiny disco Santa suits the Immortal World Tour may have, they still can't mess with "Thriller".

Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

Show Comments


  1. critter42 says:

    "Xena Warrior Cellist" is Tina Guo and she is outstanding – you should see her electric cellos up close 

  2. Anthony C says:

    Pretty good show.
    My favorite part of the show was the pole dancer (not as dirty as it sounds) on "Dangerous". Now, she was awesome!

    Other highlights I thought were great:

    "I'll Be There": 11-year-old voice of Michael, and a single piano track. [Almost made me cry]

    "Megamix – Can You Feel It/Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough/Billie Jean/Black or White": Swiss rings act, dance choreography, and world dance styles. [Hot mix, although I thought "Rock With You" should have been included to make it complete]

    "Man in the Mirror": Finale
    The amputee dancer (guy with one leg) was phenomenal [dare I say star of the show?]. I think he got the greatest cheers and applause.
    I agree "Xena Warrior Cellist"  (Tina Guo) was exceptional!

Leave a Comment