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Author Topic: All Interviews with Jamie King Director of IMMORTAL  (Read 2292 times)

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All Interviews with Jamie King Director of IMMORTAL
« on: May 05, 2011, 07:03:07 PM »

May 4, 2011 · 11:15 PM

Director Jamie King reveals secrets of Michael Jackson: Immortal
By Robin Leach

Jamie King is the director and writer of Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson's Immortal.

One-time Michael Jackson tour dancer Jamie King is the man now entrusted with writing, directing and choreographing the upcoming 5-year run of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. The premiere is in October in Cirque du Soleil’s hometown of Montreal, and then 33 performances follow on the Strip starting Dec. 3 at Mandalay Bay.

An interview with Michael Jackson Estate co-executor John Branca was posted Monday, talks with older brother Jackie Jackson and Mandalay Bay President Chuck Bowling were posted yesterday, and it’s a wrap tomorrow with Cirque du Soleil head honcho Daniel Lamarre.

Jamie said there’s no doubt that the Immortal show will be “the biggest in the world.” He explained: “We’re embarking on a hugely massive show. About 9 months ago, Cirque asked me to devise, scheme, put together a show that would be the biggest show in the world as only Michael Jackson would do it. That has now all become the Immortal tour, and I told Guy (Laliberte, Cirque’s founder), ‘absolutely, I’d love the opportunity.’

“I was chosen by Michael Jackson to be a dancer on the Dangerous Tour. So for me it has all come full circle, not only perform with and for him but now to actually immortalize Michael in a showcase. It blows my mind and keeps blowing my mind every day. In about 6 months, the show will open: Oct. 2. My heart just skipped a beat when I said 6 months, although we’ve been working on it for 9 months putting it together creatively with an amazing all-star team.

“We have acrobats , performers, dancers and musicians from everywhere around the world -- many of the musicians actually worked with Michael on previous tours. It’s an all-star A-Team of people who have worked with Michael, been around Michael, experienced Michael. We have found the people that Michael would love.

“Over the next 6 months, we’ll be putting the show together in Montreal. I will move there from Los Angeles to Montreal and begin the production phase so the show really comes to life. That’s all the props, costumes and full music design. For me, it’s like a kid in a candy store. I may be the director and writer of the show, but I’m not doing it alone. Michael is my co-director the whole way, as if he’s kind of watching and leading me and guiding me in what story to tell.

“I was taken on a trip to Neverland with Cirque, and it really blew my mind. In that moment being at Neverland and really seeing this kind of place that Michael called home and really didn’t share with the rest of the world, we decided to make our environment for the Michael Jackson: Immortal Tour and show set in Neverland. How cool is that right? Now when you go to the show, you’ll actually be able to experience Neverland. It will come to life before your eyes in the arena. That’s the setting, that’s the environment, and that’s what we’re making happen as rehearsals begin in three weeks.

Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil; Chuck Bowling, president and COO of Mandalay Bay; Jackie Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson; John Branca, co-executor of The Michael Jackson Estate; and Jamie King, writer and director of Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour, at Mandalay Bay on April 27, 2011.

“Even though Michael is not there physically, his spirit will be there completely in the show, with his essence and his music. His lyrical content of those songs become our narrator for the show. In the entire show, you are hearing Michael lead us on this journey through Neverland understanding the mystery, the magic, the innocence of Neverland, but also of him, too. We get to uncover, discover and sometimes rediscover everything we knew about Michael and wanted to know about Michael.

“There’s lots of surprises -- I didn’t know Michael was a poet. I knew he was a great songwriter. But in researching and learning everything I could about Michael in this short time, I did learn that he was a great poet, also a great artist. He made great drawings throughout his life. So the show will reflect that he was a great artist, a great performer, a great showman, a great human being. When he was my boss, he treated us dancers like gold and wanted us to be the best. Now I get to show Michael’s talents and humanity in Cirque’s Immortal Tour.”

Jamie continued during the lengthy, one-on-one chat: “We had castings in New York, Los Angeles, Canada and video auditions from around the world. We have the full cast and crew in place. The stages are already being built.” He’s directed tours for Madonna, Ricky Martin and Britney Spears and in fact sends Britney’s new Femme Fatale Tour off on the road next month.

Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson

“I don’t know how many trucks will go out for Immortal, but it will be more than the 24 that went out for Madonna and Britney. They’ve taken the most so far. I haven’t had to concentrate on the traveling logistics. I was just told to build the best show that could be built, and they’ll figure out a way to make it work for the road and the arenas.”

After some persuading, Jamie revealed where the show begins and ends in Michael’s life. “To sum it up, this is the Michael Jackson show. It’s everything Michael in the way of Thriller and Off the Wall. Michael the icon. There are nods back to the Jackson Five, his beginnings, when he was with his brothers and his family. Those nods will be there, but this is really based on Michael’s catalog and less about the Jackson Five catalog. Michael’s children and his family have all been really supportive to this point.

“It will be a 90-minute spectacular with 30 songs. The only way I can do that is by mashing up certain songs, remixing certain songs with others so you feel like you’re getting the Michael song. … I’m planning to use some video footage from This Is It that we didn’t get to see all the way in the theatrical concert film. I have access to that, and I’ve kind of re-jigged it. Also, there’s some choreography that wasn’t really seen realized in This Is It, and I’m going to use that in the show, as well. But let’s be clear: There are no This Is It tour dancers and no musicians. We have members of The Bad Tour and The Victory Tour, the older Michael Jackson shows.

“It will come off looking and feeling as if it’s Michael on tour. We’ll have that element for sure -- that’s what my cache is -- I put on rock spectacles, pop spectacles, and Michael was the best at that, so that element is 100 percent there. What’s cool is now we add in the theatricality that Cirque du Soleil provides. So it’s really going to be a hybrid that no one’s really seen before. It’s like rock meets Cirque.

“The only thing I can tell you until you see it for yourself is that we find our way transported into Neverland as part of the opening. The arena becomes Neverland, so the audience gets transported into this world of Neverland. In my heart, I know what needs to be told is that purity, that humanity of Michael Jackson, that vulnerable side that a lot of people really didn’t get to see, that childlike heart that was so beautiful and so pure. That’s what I really want the audience to feel and leave with.

“We all know what the showmanship of him, what that looks like, the artistry, the great performer … and we’ll get all that for sure. But his heart and his purity and his humanity are definitely something I’m allowed to touch on. We want it to look like a great collaboration of the Cirque world and the Michael Jackson rock and roll world.

“This is a really big show because there are so many entities. It’s bigger than big, if you know what I mean. It’ll be the biggest show in the world.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.


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Re: All Interviews with Jamie King Director of IMMORTAL
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 07:22:47 PM »

Resurrecting Michael via Cirque Du Soleil
Jamie King preps the Immortal World Tour

Posted: Thu., Jul. 21, 2011, 4:00am PT

It is exactly two years to the day that Michael Jackson died from an overdose of propofol in Los Angeles, and Jamie King is sitting in his Montreal apartment taking a break from the challenging rehearsals for Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson -- The Immortal World Tour.
"I remember the exact moment I heard the news when Michael had passed away," says King, softly. "I was in London with Madonna and we were in the O2 Arena doing her "Sticky & Sweet" tour. That is where Michael was supposed to come and launch his "This Is It!" tour. That was the last memory I have of him. Michael passed; we were there, and he was supposed to be coming there, but …"

It was the only rueful moment in an otherwise upbeat conversation centered around the multi-media live extravaganza King has written, designed and directed, in association with the Canadian theatrical company and the Michael Jackson estate. "So," he adds, "to now be asked to immortalize Michael in this way, was just overwhelming."

Organizers expect the traveling road show, which bows in Montreal on Oct. 2 before hitting 80 markets through September 2012, to play for a combined audience of 1.5 million stretched out over 180 performances, with revenues projected to exceed $1 billion.

Jackson's multi-track vocals will be placed over a live band, which includes several key players who had toured with the pop star, such as keyboardist and music director Greg Phillinganes and drummer Jonathan "Sugarfoot" Moffett.

Patrons who expect a show similar to most Cirque du Soleil shows will likely be surprised.

"It's different," says Stephane Mongeau, executive producer for Cirque. "It's a live concert with musicians, dancers and acrobats.

"We wanted to pay tribute to Michael, his music and his dancing, so we anchored the show in his home of Neverland."

It was on a trip to Jackson's former home nine months after his death that attorney John Branca and Interscope Records founder John McClain, co-executors of the late singer's estate, laid the plans out to produce a show with Cirque founder/ CEO Guy Laliberte and Mongeau.

"We had been in touch with Jamie for five or six years just seeing what might be possible for us to create with him," says Mongeau. "We were already dialed into him and had already started the conversation with Jamie about doing future shows involving him and Cirque. The Estate was well aware of Jamie, too. So, when that opportunity came to do this, his name was the first one we all thought of."

The Immortal World Tour is Cirque's third venture into merging pop icons with their other-worldly acrobatics. The Beatles Love and Viva Elvis remain nightly sell outs at their anchored Las Vegas theaters; but this is the first attempt to take a pop music-oriented show on tour.

"Michael will always be present during the show through video and new technology, especially holographic technology," says King. "Most importantly, because it is a music-driven show, we're working with Michael's catalog. Michael is really the narrator, his voice will always be there."

The set will be carried by 30 tractor-trailers, and was designed by Mark Fisher, whose clients have included Pink Floyd and David Bowie.

As in Jackson's live performances, the energy will come from the dancing. "The iconic choreography of Michael Jackson is always referenced," says King, who worked with Jackson for nearly two years as a dancer and choreographer. "What is great about the magic of Cirque, as you know, is that his dancing can now be imagined in a more magical way, that not even Michael could have envisioned. We can take the moonwalk and now imagine it, upside down, on the ceiling in the arena!"

With a development budget north of $50 million, the production touts 65 Jackson songs, including standard arrangements, remixes and mash-ups; Jackson's choreography; and Cirque's trademark acrobatics.

"It will be unlike any other rock show that you may have seen before," boasts King, who began the project in March 2010. "It is a hybrid where we are taking the idea of a rock show and a Cirque show and taking it on the road."

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Re: All Interviews with Jamie King Director of IMMORTAL
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 10:04:11 AM »

Exclusive: Director Jamie King talks Michael Jackson
By Robin Leach May 29, 2012 · 6:04 PM


Jamie is now working on Cirque du Soleil’s second Michael Jackson show, which becomes a resident attraction at Mandalay Bay one year from now. (Jamie directed the first, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” which had its world premiere at Cirque headquarters in Montreal last fall and was at Mandalay for much of December.) He talked candidly with me about the new show’s progress.

”That will be a different feel completely, altogether. I am already excited, but not yet confident. I’ll get there, though. Right now, I’m just excited. I am excited about being here at Mandalay Bay and doing the theatrical version of Michael’s show. I’ve already walked the theater. It’s under construction, but for now it looks a mess. It has much potential, and I am excited for the future.

“There is no official name yet for the show, so it’s just the Michael Jackson 2013 show. We are in pre-production now, and at the end of September, early October, I’ll be relocating to Montreal for about three to four months. I’ll stay there through the holidays, and then we’ll all come to Vegas. I will live here for a while.

“It will be completely different from the ‘Immortal’ show -- completely. This will be a theater show, not an arena production. The entire 90-plus minutes will be different from what you experienced with the touring show. I’ve done a whole new concept and theme. It involves many more characters and acrobatics. It will be much more fantastical and theatrical, with less arena rock ’n’ roll. However, you will get as much of Michael Jackson’s music as we had in the touring show. I’ve kept some magical moments from the touring show I felt could translate here -- some bits and bobs, as you’d say!

“I had to create something new, though, because the touring show will go on for a long, long time overseas while we have the permanent show here. I’ve sort of shot my self in the foot by having two shows for Michael Jackson, and both must be different -- and they will be.”