The exact production details were not revealed, but the first of these projects will be an arena-touring show "in which fans will experience the excitement of a Michael Jackson concert," expected to debut in late fall 2011.
A version of that show will have a permanent home in Las Vegas, where a handful of Cirque shows (Ka, Zumanity, etc.) are currently meeting with great success. The Las Vegas run is in conjunction with longtime Cirque du Soleil partner MGM Mirage.
The Las Vegas show is expected to open in late 2012. MGM Mirage will announce the location and plans for the permanent theatrical venue at a later date.
To view a promotional video of the Cirque Jackson plan, click here.
John Branca, co-executor for The Estate of Michael Jackson, said in a statement, "This will not just be a tribute to Michael's musical genius, but a live entertainment experience that uses the most advanced technology to push every creative boundary as Michael always did. Having attended Cirque du Soleil performances with Michael, I know he was a huge fan. 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." Guy Laliberté, founder of Cirque du Soleil, said in a statement, "Michael Jackson is the King of Pop and an all-time phenomenal artist, both timeless and contemporary. As a creative challenge, this project is the ultimate. Through the use of cutting edge technology, we will produce a Cirque du Soleil experience not only worthy of Michael but unlike any other we have created before. We are also so pleased that our longtime partner MGM Mirage has once again joined us in presenting another unique creative experience in Las Vegas."
The estate of Michael Jackson and Cirque du Soleil will each own 50 percent of each Michael Jackson project, sharing equally in the cost of creating, developing, building and producing the projects and in the profits from each project. The estate of Michael Jackson will also receive royalty payments on various aspects of its intellectual property used in the Michael Jackson projects.
Five of Jackson's solo albums, "Off the Wall," "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous" and "HIStory," all with Epic Records, are among the top sellers of all time, and "Thriller" holds the distinction as the largest-selling album in the history of the recording industry with more than 90 million units sold worldwide. Jackson started in the music business at the age of 11 with his brothers as a member of the Jackson 5.
Cirque du Soleil's new theatrical vaudeville, Banana Shpeel, in partnership with Madison Square Gardens, begins performances at New York City's Beacon Theatre April 29.