Cirque du Soleil to create Michael Jackson show

Tue Apr 20, 2010 3:35pm EDT
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By Alex Dobuzinskis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Cirque du Soleil will develop touring shows based on the music of Michael Jackson in the third major deal by the "Thriller" singer's estate since his death last June, representatives said on Tuesday.

The latest deal also calls for a Jackson-themed nightclub in Las Vegas and a permanent Jackson-Cirque du Soleil show that will make its debut in the city in late 2012.

The Jackson estate and Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil, which already has produced shows based on the music of Elvis Presley and The Beatles, will each own half of each project arising from the partnership. They will split development and production costs, representatives for the estate said.

The first project from the partnership will be an arena touring show expected to start in late fall 2011.

"Having attended Cirque du Soleil performances with Michael, I know he was a huge fan," John Branca, a co-executor of the estate, said in a statement.

"We are excited to be partners with Cirque du Soleil to give Michael's fans a truly unique way to hear, see and feel Michael's music," Branca said.

The MGM Mirage, which owns 10 hotels in Las Vegas, will partner with Cirque du Soleil for the shows in the casino mecca but it has not announced a permanent venue for those performances.

In March, Sony Music, a unit of Sony Corp, announced a $250 million deal with Jackson's estate, which will result in up to 10 albums using the singer's previously unreleased music.   Continued...

<p>People watch live television news coverage of the Michael Jackson memorial in Las Vegas, Nevada in this July 7, 2009 file photo. REUTERS/Las Vegas Sun/Steve Marcus/Files</p>