As a forty-something music fan, I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and I associate his music with milestones in my life. While in Las Vegas recently, I had a chance to see the MIchael Jackson ONE show by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay. The show is a brilliant blending of the King of Pop’s iconic songs (and image) with the acrobatics and stunning presentation I expect of Cirque du Soleil.
Using a group of four young adventurer characters, backed and joined by 63 dancers, the show takes the audience through various Michael Jackson hits, performing or acting out the lyrics and themes from the songs. Directed by a former Michael Jackson backup dancer, Jamie King, ONE really does bring the songs to life and enhance the experience of hearing them. It’s like you’re actually part of a giant Michael Jackson music video. There is a lot of cool technology used, lighting, lasers, video walls, everything works together to improve the experience, not distract from it.
This show is all about the music of Michael Jackson and it delivers hit after hit. Michael’s music and dancing is so good, I think they could sell tickets to a show that was just that, watching him perform on giant screens. The sound system in the theater is also excellent, so there’s a great surround sound effect and the music is crisp and clear, adding to the overall sensory experience.
The Cirque du Soleil influence
This is a all-encompassing, three dimensional experience. Dancers and aerial artists perform overhead as the music plays and they also move back and forth above the crowd on all kinds of amazing mechanical systems built into the theater. The entire stage show is also acrobatic, with large ferris wheel-like machines, trampolines in the floor and other devices that magnify the dancers’ already brilliant abilities.
I really liked some of the “clothesline” dances they did on bouncy ropes stretched across the stage. Another stand-out was a line of dancers wearing black outfits with LED displays on them. The row of LED displays was computer-controlled and as the dancers performed Michael’s moves, the LED lights framed and highlighted some of them, then all of them and back and forth. The effect, with the music, was really cool and a great combination of great human dancing with computer technology..
Memories of Michael
The dancers in the show are amazing, and many of them perform some of Michael’s signature moves as part of the show choreography. But one thing that stayed with me after the show was watching the videos of Michael himself performing, which were beautifully woven into the overall performance. To watch him dance, moonwalk, everything, is just so amazing and you realize what a true genius he really was..
An amazing, overall entertainment experience
I was really blown away by how well everything came together, the music, the Cirque aspect, the dancers and the overall visual artistry. I also liked how the show appeals to all ages, it’s a great family activity in Vegas.
Michael Jackson ONE by Cirque du Soleil at Mandalay Bay
The Michael Jackson ONE show is in its own theater, easily accessible inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. There are two 90-minute shows nightly, 7:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (7:30 and 9:30 after August 29) and the show is dark Thursdays and Fridays. Ticket prices start at a reasonable $69 each, with Gold Circle tickets starting at $180 each.
For a great overnight experience, try THEhotel, the stylish 43-story, all-suite “hotel within a hotel” at the Mandalay Bay. The Michael Jackson ONE theater is right near the hallway leading the THEhotel lobby.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. In the past six months, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Canada and Peru. You can follow him on Twitter – @luxuryfred and on Instagram – @luxuryfred.
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