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COLUMN

Live Active Cultures

Seth interviews Tara Young, artistic director of Cirque du Soleil's Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour

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Along with the music and elements audiences associate with Michael Jackson, the Immortal World Tour also aims to deliver the spectacle expected of any Cirque du Soleil show, with Cirque vets Germain Guillemot and Debra Brown overseeing the aerialists and acrobats. And Young says viewers “will be blown away by the size and scale” of the set, which is a star attraction in and of itself. Designed by Mark Fisher (the legendary architect of Pink Floyd’s inflatable animals), the stage comes complete with enormous LED video screens and takes approximately 35 trucks to transport across the country.

With so many moving parts, it falls to Young and her staff to watch every performance and give notes to the performers and techs. Keeping things fresh requires a regular regimen of workouts and rehearsals. “We’re always training and trying new things to improve the show,” Young says. And even though the cast is well into the tour, she says the show is never truly complete: “It evolves because we move and grow. Any show will evolve, even Broadway shows; they evolve, grow and get better.”

That constant striving for improvement is motivated by the fans who come to the tour, whose devotion to the late star can be intense. “[Jackson’s] passing is so recent, people who come to see the show truly were fans,” Young says. Living up to that devotion devours Young’s day, so she doubts she’ll make it to Epcot for a showing of Jackson’s Captain EO, though fellow cast members plan to visit Michael’s beloved parks while in town. The bottom line for Young, as she keeps this cast on its toes, is that “every audience should feel like they are seeing an opening night.”

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