When people ask me to describe Cirque Du Soleil, I like to say it is, simply put, the Circus for pretentious people. It has all the same tropes –clowns, jugglers, amazing high flying feats of daring, trapeze acts, and more. What they do so well is dress up what we know and love about old-school circuses in spectacular costumes, staging, music, and theater trappings for a unique experience.
One thing they have always done so well is special theme shows. In Vegas they have shows dedicated to Elvis, The Beatles, and magic. In Los Angeles they have a show dedicated to movies.
Ten years ago they only did one or two shows every couple of years. They now have over 21 ongoing shows. With seven of these in Las Vegas, it has become their de facto American home. This year they are embarking on their grandest concept ever, a tribute to Michael Jackson. The Immortal World Tour is the first time Cirque Du Soleil will play in arenas like Madison Square Garden, the Verizon Center, the Izod Center and more. It will be interesting to see if the intimate nature of a Cirque show can translate to these grand-scale environments.
The mostly sold-out tour kicked off a few months ago and will probably be hitting a city near you soon. The show is managed by Artistic Director Tara Young. Raised in Calgary, Alberta, Tara began dancing at the age of three. Her dream was to be on Broadway, and at just 19 years old she was fortunate enough to land her first job, dancing with Liza Minnelli in “STEPPIN OUT at Radio City Music Hall”.
I recently had a chance to speak with Tara Young. It went a little bit like this.
Can you tell us a bit about what you do and your role in Cirque Du Soleil as an organization?
An artistic director for Cirque du Soleil maintains the integrity of the production that was created. On a daily basis, I strive for excellence from the performers and the staff to present an opening night performance every single day.
How did the idea for The Immortal World Tour come about?
Michael Jackson had a huge affection for Cirque du Soleil so after he died it seemed like a natural progression for the two to collaborate together.
What type of research goes into putting a show like this together?
When honoring an icon like Michael Jackson it is imperative to look at all elements and facets of his life including the highs and lows.
When casting a show like this, do you look for outside performers or can you use performers from other Cirque Shows for this production?