Michael Jackson One is a spectacular show not only for the sheer entertainment and athleticism exhibited by the Cirque Du Soleil talented cast, but also because it’s a keen look into the life, innovation and creative genius of Michael Jackson.
The MJOne Cirque Du Soleil show combines lights, acrobatics and dance, and accompanied by the music and clear crisp vocals of the incomparable Michael Jackson. It is a complete 90 minute sensory overload that slaps the spirit awake then pummels the heart incessantly until every conceivable emotion is experienced.
Listing all the songs and medleys or describing how cleverly MJOne wove young Michael’s vocals with the deeper tones of mature Michael, won’t do the magical charm of this presentaion justice. It is more than a musical show – it’s an exercise in social awareness. The audience leaves understanding more about Michael Jackson’s life and his message because Cirque Du Soleil and Jaime King carefully crafted within the different vignettes, Michael Jackson’s world vision and mission.
King’s narrative uses Michael Jackson’s iconic glove, sparkly socks/shoes, sunglasses and fedora as transformative items weaving their magic upon the wearer. Much like the intention and message of Michael’s music, bringing awareness and changing hearts and minds forever.
The well documented reality of salacious idiotic rumors and the invasive vitriol of the media is demonstrated immediately, as the audience is accosted pre-show, by aggressive paparazzi with light bulbs flashing. While this theme of Michael’s life being scrutinized and invaded is highlighted, it isn’t long before the audience is catapulted into how Michael views the world and not vice versa.
As a child, he enthralled us and promised, I’ll Be There and he kept that promise, as he was an ever-constant presence in milllions of lives across the world. Years later he wonders if we will afford him recompense for his fealty, as he queries plaintively – Will You Be There? Will you still care?
Every song is presented with the dazzling feats of the acrobats and dancers save one: Billie Jean. Rather astutely, Jaime King knew it would be wise to allow only the Maestro to shine, especially for this signature song. Michael said he would “become one with the dance” and it is only fitting that in this moment, his prowess should be singly highlighted as The One.
The storytelling and songs sweep the spirit along at so fast a clip that there is no awareness of how much time has flown but only an anticipation of which great Michael Jackson song will next be set to Cirque’s vibrant visuals, colors and movement. Seduction and forbidden love, common elements in Michael Jackson songs are smartly depicted through a blending of Dangerous, Dirty Diana and In The Closet. Partnered with this medley is the amazing talent of a female aerialist dressed in blazing red, every muscle toned, tensed and executing the most arduous of maneuvers in mid-air that defies credulity.
Although not used in the program, *Why You Wanna Trip On Me could have been Jaime King’s blueprint as he deftly weaves the movement and intensity of the talented Cirque performers through the most important focus of Michael Jackson: ignoring social injustice. Michael believed each individual has the responsibility to change the inequities in this world and this is the message the show imparts. Media should stop focusing on real or fictional idiosyncrasies of Michael Jackson, and instead address more important world problems.
During They Don’t Really Care About Us, the performers are placed juxtaposition to extremely thought provoking images of war, the homeless, impoverished children dying of hunger, as well as gang violence, racial intolerance and bigotry, just to name a few.
Harsh visuals of reality and heavy messages, to be sure, from arguably the greatest entertainer that ever graced a stage. Perhaps it gave many in the audience, who may have just been casual fans of the man, a new appreciation for the depth of his genius. To make social commentary on realities of the world through his art is one of Michael’s greatest and surely most underappreciated achievements. His vast body of work is now getting the attention it deserved and academic exploration within university curriculum is ongoing.
“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” Oscar Wilde
It wasn’t enough for Michael Jackson to tell us what needed fixing, he tried to fix it and he implored us to do the same. The Cirque show uses the Man In The Mirror finale to connect with the whole audience, who by now is out of their seats dancing and singing. As a whole, totally immersed in the massive love witin Neverland visuals with Michael “appearing” to spread his certain kind of magic that only he can supply. Hearts can’t help but surrender to his mantra of “Make that Change” and can’t leave MJOne without a newfound understanding of THE Man and awareness that it will takes us ALL to make that difference across our globe.
We can Heal the World if we come together as One.
“A Virtual Parade of Wow moments…”
”It is a strikingly beautiful and emotional show”
“It is a show that makes you miss the man and his art. In its best moments, it makes you wonder what aspects of him ever really touched the Earth.”