Michael Jackson Cirque premiere in Montreal

Montreal, Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil

World premiere red carpet for Cirque’s Michael Jackson homage.

Despite having seen all seven of Las Vegas’ Cirque du Soleil shows, all but one of them two or three times, when I headed to wintery Montreal (Cirque headquarters!), I had no idea what to expect. The brand has already put its mark on the legendary Beatles and Elvis Presley, but Michael Jackson? For some reason, this was different. And I was going to see first-hand, at the world premiere of The Immortal, Cirque du Soleil’s stadium tribute to the late, great Michael Jackson. The excitement was building fast! The show was about to embark on a tireless North American tour. Its only prolonged stop? Las Vegas, of course!Twenty-four nights in Sin City, starting December 3. A more theatrical version of the Michael Jackson spectacle will eventually settle in Sin City permanently. I can’t wait!

Montreal had been enjoying some gorgeous fall weather — until the day before we arrived. The night of the premiere? Freezing cold rain! So the entire red carpet was moved inside. It was a little cramped, but thrilling. There’s nothing like fighting for space when huge TV cameras are ready to take you out! I’m not coordinated enough to take photos AND interview at the same time, so please excuse the strange angles of my pictures, as I snapped shots while the stars were busy with other reporters.

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson

The “Fanatics” dancers.


The most emotional moments came from Jackson family members. I have better photos of Michael’s kids, but I liked this one, because Prince, Paris and Blanket are all looking at the photo of their Dad. Can you imagine if your father was Michael Jackson?

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson

Prince, Blanket and Paris Jackson, with their cousins.


Marlon, Tito and Jackie Jackson were so sweet. Not only did Jackie help me with my luggage at the airport (he lives in Vegas), but they were so genuine on the red carpet. A few minutes after our interview, Michael’s mom, Katherine, swept by, clearly overcome by emotion. She said only that she was “very, very excited.”

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson

Marlon, Tito and Jackie Jackson


After the show, I waited backstage with two others on my Vegas field trip: the lovely Molly Ancell from our local Vegas Cirque office, and my colleague Robin Leach. I loved his leather pants!

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson

Waiting backstage after the show.


The next day, we toured backstage, a bunch of dorky reporters with a million questions! Here, I am standing on the stage, interviewing Greg Phillinganes and Kevin Antunes, musical director and musical designer. For their stories and more, you’ll have to wait for the next issue of Vegas magazine!

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson


It was a maze backstage, between the costumes, props and catering. The man in charge of costumes, Zaldy Goco, had been the wardrobe guru on This Is It, the tour that Michael Jackson worked so hard on but never performed live, since he died before his time in June, 2009.

Montreal, Cirque du Soleil, Michael Jackson

Track suit costumes


This high-tech puppet rode in a hot-air balloon during the show, a true feat from a master prop maestro, Michael Curry. Not only had he been working on This Is It, but The Immortal is his fifth Cirque show. He’s a pro, a true genius!

Montreal, Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil

Six-year-old “Michael”


Check out the trailer and tour schedule here. With 47 stops on the itinerary so far, Immortal is sure to be coming somewhere near you! If not, see you in Vegas? Michael Jackson The Immortal

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. Oh Abby you’re such a tease! Fine I’ll wait until the next issue of your magazine comes out. Looking forward to hearing about the show.
    How about just a little hint. Is it worth the price tag?

  2. Haha YES! It is. If you’re a Cirque and/or MJ fan (and who isn’t?) you can’t miss it… And you know, this is the touring one? The show that’s more what I’m used to in Vegas, won’t arrive for another year!

  3. Did you get a chance to explore Montreal?

    My gf and I were just there for a Portishead concert and spent an extra day strolling old-Montreal and shopping.

  4. We faced freezing cold, windy rain on our one free day, but we did get out a bit. I did visit many years ago with my family. It’s such a charming city — Quebec, too!

  5. The world seems to have shrunk to North America and London, so as a continental European I’m glad you’ll share the experience 😀

  6. Haha only with some things! But why I can’t wait to get AWAY… Also, the tour might head to Europe — they said they’d love to tour for four years!

  7. What an awesome experience!

  8. It was so fun! And I got to report instead of just edit in my office all day. Back to the future maybe? I learned I missed it!

  9. Such a great experience and photos! Love them!

  10. Awesome experience!!! I guess this beats a weekend in Vegas! Love the behind-the-scenes pics!

  11. Both the carpet and backstage were really exciting!

  12. Wait, so do you have any pictures of the actual show?! I want to see! I think that seeing that show would be both awesome and sad at the same time. I’m sure you can’t help but think and remember Michael’s genius while watching the spectacle. But it’s a beautiful tribute.

  13. It was SO hard to get good pics in such a massive stadium!! Did you watch the link?

  14. Bah! While I agree that it is cute that they are looking at the pic of their dad, I so very rarely see their faces!

    What an awesome opportunity!

  15. They’re so striking and beautiful! It was really fun. 🙂

  16. Some of my friends are flying from Calgary to LA to see the show when it lands there. Lucky that you got to go to Montreal!

    That robotic MJ scares me though. It looks like Gary Coleman. 🙂

  17. Oh wow! Yes, the premiere was awesome. But it’s still a work in progress. Excited to see it again in Vegas in December!

  18. What a great opportunity to enjoy this show with a few extras! I still have to see a CDS show though…

  19. REALLY??! Yes, you must see a Cirque show!!! The best ones are quite magical.

  20. How fun! I can’t wait to see it when it comes to Vegas… if I can get tickets, geez! Only 24 nights??? Oh, well, I’ll sneak in if I have to 🙂

  21. Haha we will go! I can’t wait to see it again.

  22. Aaaaand it’s official: you have the coolest job ever and met the coolest people ever. I shall now proceed to die of jealousy.

  23. I do NOT have the coolest job haha. But I do get to do some really fun things. 🙂

  24. I love MJ, but not quite as much as my mom. She is such a HUGE fan. Maybe I can get her to Seattle to see the November show, just in time for her birthday. Love how I find things through other people’s experiences. What an enviable trip you had where you got to meet the cast and the family!

  25. Agghh, Montreal! How I miss it! Had no idea Cirque did themed shows like these. Awesome.

  26. Sherry, I love that your mom is a fan!! My mom will definitely come to Vegas to see the show. But she’s a Cirque die-hard, not necessarily MJ.

    Candice — yet another reason you need to come to Vegas!!

  27. I am green with envy. We are big MJ fans. One of us may have been obsessed with him. I am not naming names. The fact that you get to have this great experience AND have quick access to poutine. Um, let’s just say I am struggling to stay civil. 🙂

    Would love to see this and hopefully will get the chance. It’s going to be at the M resort, right?

  28. Use this as an excuse to come!! This stadium show will be at Mandalay Events Center this December. The theater version will live at what’s currently the Lion King Theater. I can’t wait!

  29. Such a very cool experience! I would have loved to see the family as well. I will have to make it to the show at some point and if not in Vegas perhaps in another city close to home.

  30. Thank you! It WAS cool, especially hearing the brothers’ reactions afterwards. The kids were amazing, too.

  31. Wow! Lucky you. So great to see Robin Leach – “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” was one of my favourite shows! And how cool that Jackie helped you with your bags. Not only are you hobnobbing with the rich and famous, you’re becoming a celebrity in your own right! Congratulations.

  32. Awww I am NOT a celebrity! Robin and I are in the same media circles in Vegas. It’s a strange world. 😉

  33. I’ve only had the opportunity to go to 2 Cirque shows in Vegas (and one that traveled through Columbus), and they were so amazing! I think I would enjoy this one too.

  34. I love Cirque, too. Just about anything they do. I can’t wait for the theater version either — although it’s so far away!

  35. Oh NBD just hanging out with my colleague Robin Leach….. WTF?!?! You work with Robin Leach! thats crazy!! hahaha
    Looks like you had a wicked time, you are sooo paparazzi! 🙂

  36. I must say — he was treated like a big celebrity up there. It was fun to see! On the red carpet, people were taking pictures of HIM!

  37. Lovely experience you’ve had, it does look very well organized!

  38. It was a huge, media-friendly grand opening!

  39. You should have invited me! haha… this looks amazing!

  40. I’ve seen five Cirque Shows this along with Beatles is on my to do list…

  41. Hogga, we would have had a blast!!

    Mike, Beatles Love is one of my absolute favorites!


    Ok, I’ll stop yelling. All of this looks amazing and I totally want to see this show. MJ’s music was a childhood favorite.

  43. HAHAHA it was amazing!! I just talked my mom into flying across the country to see it. It was definitely a very exciting night!!

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