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December 13, 2017

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Strip Scribbles: Cirque du Soleil marks Michael Jackson’s birthday


Darrin Bush/Las Vegas News Bureau

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.

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Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson

Cirque du Soleil and Michael Jackson's Immortal. Launch slideshow »

Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson

Eric Bergen of Jersey Boys opens the Las Vegas Celebrates the Music of Michael Jackson concert in the Pearl at the Palms Saturday. Launch slideshow »

100 Monkeys

100 Monkeys at the Cosmopolitan on April 30, 2011. Launch slideshow »

2010 Great Santa Run

Opportunity Village's 2010 Great Santa Run at Town Square on Dec. 4, 2010. Launch slideshow »
Click to enlarge photo

100 Monkeys, including Jackson Rathbone, at Ziplinez on Fremont Street on Aug. 26, 2011.

Click to enlarge photo

100 Monkeys at Fremont Street Experience on Aug. 26, 2011.

Today marks what would have been Michael Jackson’s 53rd birthday. The King of Pop and I often joked about our Aug. 29 birthdates. To mark his birthday, Cirque du Soleil disclosed today that no less than 10 diverse choreographers -- some of whom worked with Michael -- will contribute their talents to the upcoming Immortal world premiere.

Cirque unveils the show in Montreal on Oct. 2, and the high-profile choreographers teamed with the company’s own crew make it the largest creative team ever assembled for any of Cirque’s multimillion-dollar spectaculars. Immortal, written and directed by Jamie King, is a unique tribute to Michael’s music legacy.

The dance team is comprised of Travis Payne, Rich and Tone Talauega, Debra Brown, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo, Jamal Sims, Cloud and Tamara Levinson and Mandy Moore.

Other creators include Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, creative guides; Chantal Tremblay, director of creation; Carla Kama, associate show director; Kevin Antunes, musical designer; Greg Phillinganes, music director; Mark Fisher, set designer; Michael Curry, props and scenic designer; and Zaldy Goco, costume designer.

Cirque promises that the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of The King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations. It takes place in a fantastical realm of his inspirational Giving Tree that expresses his love for music, dance, fairy tales and magic and the fragile beauty of nature to underscore Michael’s global messages of love, peace and unity. The show arrives here in December at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

*Meantime, Madame Tussauds at the Venetian is featuring a Michael Jackson exhibit Sept. 8 to Dec. 27, and anyone who shares his birthday receives free admission. The limited-engagement attraction features three wax figures and highlights various stages of his career, including the Jackson 5 years, Invincible era and the ill-fated This Is It concert run scheduled for London at the time of his death.

The three figures collectively represent more than $1 million in wax sculpting, his first sitting in 1984 and updated in 1989. Madame Tussauds has sculpted six waxwork figures of Michael, more than any other celebrity in history, and he has been reproduced for every Madame Tussauds in the world.

*Jackson Rathbone, Jasper in the Twilight films, helped raise money for the Fender Music Foundation and a grant for music programs here in Las Vegas over the weekend at the zip-line attraction Flightlinez downtown. Jackson zip-lined through Fremont Street Experience for charity and then joined his band 100 Monkeys for a free performance for fans. These guys are really the best, as you can tell from my recent interview with them before a performance at the Cosmopolitan. The event raised $15,000.

Tonight’s Tips

Time to rally the troops for Opportunity Village’s Seventh Annual Great Santa Run on Dec. 3. Our beloved charity hosts a party tonight at Queen Victoria Pub in the Riviera to create teams in the hope we can recapture the Guinness World Record held by Ireland with 12,965 participants. … LMFAO’s Redfoo hosts Party Rock at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan. … And today’s cabana proceeds at Palms Pool benefit the cancer charity Caring Place.

Tomorrow’s Teases

I escaped the desert heat with time in nearby San Diego County for a getaway birthday celebration, and Tom Donoghue shot remarkable photo galleries of the Pacific Coast attractions of Legoland, Safari Park and the San Diego Zoo.

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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