By Caroline Fontein
At a press conference today it was announced that Mandalay Bay will be the new home to everything Michael Jackson in Las Vegas.
Through the hotel’s partnership with The Estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil, Mandalay Bay will offer the next-best thing to Neverland with the launch of a Jackson-themed lounge, an all-access Jackson exhibit, the IMMORTAL World Tour, which starts in December, a Jackson Fan Fest in conjunction with the tour and a permanent show that will open in early 2013.
“My co-executor John McClain and I are thrilled to establish Michael’s home away from home here at the Mandalay Bay. Very few fans would ever get to visit Michael’s Neverland Ranch because of its remote location, but millions of Michael’s fans can come to Mandalay Bay to hear Michael’s music and experience Michael in many other ways,” said Co-Executor of The Michael Jackson Estate John Branca.
An exact site for the Jackson-themed lounge, the all-access Jackson exhibit and the permanent show is still being decided upon, but all three entities will be positioned together in one location within Mandalay Bay.
Cirque du Soleil is paring up with Ubisoft to create the Michael Jackson All Access Exhibit. Ubisoft is the same company that created the Michael Jackson The Experience video game for Nintendo Wii. The exhibit will feature both Jackson memorabilia and interactive state-of-the-art technology enabling fans to experience everything they love about the King of Pop in a new way.
The fan fest will be the first ever Estate-authorized Michael Jackson fan fest. It will start on Dec. 3, 2011, the same day the IMMORTAL Tour starts. The fan fest will include a variety of elements including Jackson memorabilia, items from Neverland Ranch, photo opportunities in re-created sets from some of Jackson’s iconic music videos and more.
Writer and Director of THE IMMORTAL World Tour Jamie King was also at the press conference to discuss the upcoming tour. King was selected by Jackson to dance in his Dangerous Tour, which started in 1992.
Nine months ago King was approached by Cirque to put the IMMORTAL tour together. During that time he’s been working on getting an all-star group of dancers, gymnasts and performers from around the world together for the show. He’s also put together a group of highly-talented musicians, some of whom have performed with Jackson. During the next six months the tour will go into the production phase where King will be working with the cast in Montreal at Cirque du Soleil’s main headquarters.
“I’m the director and writer of the show, but I also feel like I’m not doing it alone. I feel like I’m doing it with Michael as my co-director the whole way. It’s as if he’s kind of watching me and leading me and guiding me on which story to tell, and that story keeps evolving,” said King.
As part of his research for the show King went to Neverland. His experience there helped shape his vision for the IMMORTAL Tour.
“In this traveling show you’ll actually be able to experience Neverland really come to life before your eyes in an arena. So that’s the setting, that’s the environment and that’s what we’re making happen during the next six months,” said King.
The world tour is going to be different from the resident show. Both are going to have different creators and visions, explained Branca.
Some of the differences discussed at the press conference are that the tour is going to create a rock concert experience for fans, whereas the resident show will be more theatrical and intimate because of the size of the theater.
Both the tour and resident show will feature all of Jackson’s hit songs and other elements to represent everything that fans know and love about the iconic performer.
“We have given Cirque du Soleil and Jamie access to everything we have to create the best possible show,” said Branca.
That includes access to footage from “This Is It” and other performance videos that Jackson produced throughout his prolific career.
“The world lost an extraordinary entertainer, and more importantly a person. Through the eyes of the creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil, Michael will live in many new ways and for new audiences for years to come, and I think that’s a wonderful gift to us all,” said President and COO of Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino Chuck Bowling.