Cirque du Soleil brings Michael Jackson show to Rupp Arena

Contortionist Baaska Enkhbaatar in the presentation of Michael Jackson's 'Is It Scary' in Cirque du Soleil's production 'Immortal,' a tribute to Jackson that comes to Rupp Arena May 2 and 3. © Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Contortionist Baaska Enkhbaatar in the presentation of Michael Jackson’s ‘Is It Scary’ in Cirque du Soleil’s production ‘Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,’ a tribute to Jackson that comes to Rupp Arena May 2 and 3. © Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil will come to Lexington for the first time with Michael Jackson: The Immortal World TourMay 2 and 3 at Rupp Arena.

Immortal, which debuted in 2011 and has toured the world, is set up like a rock concert with 49 dancers, musicians and acrobats presenting the late King of Pop’s music in a distinctly Cirque style.

“We have been working for three-and-a-half years to get this show routed to Lexington,” said Carl Hall, director of arena management at Lexington Center Corp. “This is an excellent opportunity for the Bluegrass region to experience a premier show of this caliber.”

Cirque is a Montreal performance troupe that has grown into the largest theatrical producer in the world over the last three decades. Shows by the company have come to Cincinnati and Louisville, but never Lexington, though Cirque-like shows have been here and to surrounding venues in the Bluegrass. 

Immortal is directed by Jamie King, who was a dancer on Jackson’s Dangerous world tour in 1992 and went on to work with Prince, Madonna and numerous other artists directing world tours and performances, including Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2012.

According a news release, “the band includes some of the same artists who previously worked side by side with Michael. Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.”

Jackson himself never played Rupp Arena, but came close. The Jacksons were in negotiations with Rupp to open their Victory tour, presented at the height of Thriller mania, in Lexington in June 1984. But the deal fell through over the method of ticket sales, an issue which dogged the tour, as the tour promoter wanted to use its own system. Jackson’s sister, Janet, did play Rupp in 2001.

Tickets for Immortal are already on sale to members of the Cirque Club, and go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday through the Rupp Arena Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets. Tickets are $50 to $165.

The Zombies of 'Thriller' in Cirque du Soleil's 'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.'

The Zombies of ‘Thriller’ in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.’

A moment echoing Michael Jackson's 'Billie Jean' video in Cirque du Soleil's 'Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.'

A moment echoing Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ video in Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour.’

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