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Offline moonstreet

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Cirque Ottawa
« on: October 03, 2011, 09:35:27 AM »
all the news and reviews from Cirque Ottawa
« Last Edit: October 03, 2011, 09:37:20 AM by moonstreet »

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Cirque Ottawa
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2011, 10:47:52 PM »
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/stop+loving+Michael+Jackson/5521909/story.html

Can't stop loving Michael Jackson
 
Ottawa singer's gig with Immortal tour a 'dream come true'
 
By Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen October 8, 2011


Ottawa native Jory Steinberg is living her dream. The singer is part of the live band that performs the music of Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, the new Cirque du Soleil production that pays tribute to the King of Pop.

The vivacious 30-year-old gets to travel the world for the next three years or so singing music she loves with a fantastic band that includes some of Jackson's former band members. For a woman whose first memory involves Thriller, there is no other way to describe it: it's a thrill.

"It's a dream come true for me to be a part of something so magnificent," she said this week in Ottawa, where Immortal opened Friday night. Flashing a knockout smile and tossing her mane of unruly curls, she added, "I have to pinch myself daily."

A big part of what makes it so special for Steinberg is the lifelong connection she has with Jackson's songs. Her first memory of the world, as a three-year-old, encapsulates the moment she discovered Thriller, the hit song, and its lavish video.

"I was at my house in the west end of Ottawa, running around the house and watching the making of Thriller. It showed how they transformed him into a monster. I would study every move, every lyric, every vocal. I watched it all day, every day."

Her toddler crush never faded and she went on to discover the rest of Jackson's material. She studied liner notes and figured out harmonies, all of which came in handy when she was asked to be part of the Cirque show. She not only knew the music but also recognized the names of people like Greg Phillanganes, the musical director who worked with Jackson on the Bad and Dangerous tours, former Jackson drummer Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffat and singer Fred White, who backed Jackson on his History tour. They're all part of the Cirque show.

"My research for this gig started when I was three years old," she said with a laugh. "That's the best way to put it, really."

Steinberg is one of three backup singers in the 12-piece band that accompanies Jackson's original vocal tracks. As the first Cirque production to follow a rock concert-style program, the live band is a key element, every bit as vital to the spectacle as the acrobatics, choreography and special effects.

"The band has to be as good as Michael wanted it to be," said the singer with the multi-octave voice, noting that the executors of Jackson's estate had a hand in selecting the talent. "And he was a perfectionist."

After more than a year in the works, the $60-million production debuted in Montreal earlier this week, and is in Ottawa for a weekend run at Scotiabank Place. The first leg of the tour includes 47 dates in North America and a residency in Las Vegas; more than $40 million in tickets have already been sold. The journey is expected to continue until 2015.

This weekend's homecoming is sweet for Steinberg, who is staying with her parents. A talented singer who moved to Los Angeles as a teenager to work with hit-making producer David Foster, she also had a short-lived stint on American Idol in 2007.

After that, she toured the world as a backup singer with Toto, the softrock survivors of the '70s and early '80s. Through them, she met Phillinganes, another Toto alumnus before he became musical director of Immortal.

Although once touted as the next Alanis Morissette, Steinberg isn't itching to finish the album she started with Foster under a deal that fell apart when he left the company. Instead, she wants to make the most of the current gig.

"I will always love those songs, but I'm not sure I'm as passionate about that as I am about opportunities like this," she says. "I love to be on stage, I love to perform, I love to travel. Anything I can do to keep on doing my passion, I do."

So what's her favourite Jackson song? In the show, it's I Just Can't Stop Loving You because it's a duet featuring her and her idol. "I kinda go, 'Wow, is this happening?' It's me and Michael singing, and Greg playing piano. They are people I've idolized and wanted to work with my whole life.

"Michael's voice is really put out front and it is as though he is there."

MICHAEL JACKSON: THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR

When & where: Oct. 8 and 9 at Scotiabank Place

Offline moonstreet

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Re: Cirque Ottawa
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2011, 11:00:58 PM »
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/entertainment/Cirque+show+spectacular+Jackson+tribute/5523790/story.html

New Cirque show a spectacular Jackson tribute
 
By Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen October 8, 2011


Cirque du Soleil’s new production is an eye-popping extravaganza of acrobatics, special effects, choreography and music, but you never lose sight of the personality that inspired it. In fact, Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour is a show that could have come from Jackson’s own unbridled imagination.

The $60-million arena show, which has the blessing of the Jackson family, opened in Montreal earlier in the week, and is at Scotiabank Place this weekend. Friday’s performance was sold out; the show continues Saturday and Sunday.

The things that Jackson was most passionate about are well represented, including his love of animals and children and his concern for the environment, as well as his singing and dancing. The program loosely follows the song-by-song structure of a rock concert rather than a theatre performance, and each song is illustrated by a Cirque routine.

However, with more than two dozen titles crammed in the show, it’s a bit irksome that you never get to hear a full song. At the heart of the production is a fantastic live band that includes several veteran musicians who played with the late King of Pop, and it would be a treat to see them let loose, especially on big hits like Billie Jean or Thriller, where you hear the rest of the song in your head anyway.

Instead, the songs have been meticulously clipped and rearranged to keep things moving at a brisk pace, evidently necessary for the theatrical nature of the performance. Three singers (Including Ottawa native Jory Steinberg) do a fantastic job with the harmonies, but thank goodness there is no Jackson impersonator trying to mimic the King of Pop’s voice. A white-faced mime serves as the protagonist, while Jackson’s original vocal track is pushed to the forefront in glorious surround sound, a technique that makes you realize what a great singer he was. His distinctive voice was fluid, soulful and precise, even when he was a child.

The show gives a broad representation of Jackson’s life and music, from the Jackson 5 beginnings to his Thriller heyday, but also includes obscure material like Childhood, an intensely personal song that sounds like a cry for help from a troubled artist. On stage, in a nod to Jackson’s roots, dancers are dressed as a music-loving street gang, armed with a ghetto blaster as they arrive at the gates of Neverland.

Visually, the production is stunning, rich with movement, costumes, lights, video images, props and a few surprises of the pyrotechnic variety. The strength and agility of the acrobats, dancers and contortionists is astounding. Just when you think pole-dance diva Anna Melnikova can’t possibly flex another millimetre, she’ll wrap her leg around her neck. Meanwhile, on the ground, performers execute complicated choreography routines that incorporate everything from backflips and bellyflops to signature Jackson moves like the moonwalk and the lean.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Jacksonesque without a few elements of the bizarre. One example is the Beat It routine, when Jackson’s accessories become part of the show, requiring dancers to be dressed as larger-than-life shoes, glove and hat. Another is the characterization of Jackson’s pet chimp, Bubbles, featuring a performer clad in striped shirt, overalls and chimp head doing choreography that resonates with chimp-like accuracy.

In a brilliant twist that could have been dreamed up by Jackson himself, Bubbles becomes the DJ, bobbing his head and scratching turntables as he presides over the spectacle from a booth above the stage. As Immortal makes its way around the world over the next couple of years, DJ Bubbles is sure to become a crowd favourite.

My guess is that Michael would approve.