Cirque du Soleil Jackson show to debut October 2011

Wed Nov 3, 2010 3:32pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The new Michael Jackson-themed Cirque du Soleil show will make its debut in Montreal in October 2011, and tour 26 U.S. and Canadian cities for the next eight months, the Canadian acrobatic company said on Wednesday.

Tickets for "The Immortal World Tour" -- described as a "riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that...literally turns his signature moves upside down" -- went on pre-sale on Wednesday for subscribers and Cirque Club members.

The show is one of a handful of commercial ventures backed by the estate of the late "Thriller" singer. A dance videogame called "Michael Jackson: The Experience" goes on sale in North America on November 23, a DVD set of 40 music videos covering his solo artist career is released on November 22, and an album of previously unreleased Jackson songs is in the pipeline.

Cirque du Soleil said the "Immortal" show will feature 60 performers and will take place in a "fantastical realm where we discover Michael's inspirational Giving Tree -- the wellspring of his creativity.

"The secrets of Michael's inner world are unlocked -- his love of music and dance, fairy tale and magic, and the fragile beauty of nature," the circus company said in a statement.

The show will be written and directed by pop music choreographer and director Jamie King, who worked for 12 years as Madonna's creative director. King was also the mastermind behind the Britney Spears 2009 "Circus" world tour and has worked with Celine Dion, Rihanna, and Mariah Carey.

The "Immortal" show will kick off in Montreal on Oct 2, travel to several Canadian cities before making a week long stay in Las Vegas, and then move on to major U.S. cities in 2012.

Profits will be split 50:50 with the Michael Jackson estate, which protects the singer's name and intellectual property and manages Jackson-related business.

Cirque du Soleil is currently performing shows in Las Vegas inspired by the music of Elvis Presley and The Beatles.

Jackson, 50, died suddenly in Los Angeles in June 2009. His personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, is awaiting trial on charges of involuntary manslaughter.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Christine Kearney)