A behind the scenes look at Michael Jackson’s Immortal Tour - INTERVIEW
blog by Kathryn Przybyla • July 30, 2012 @ 9:35am
A riveting fusion of visuals, dance, music and fantasy that immerses audiences in Michael’s creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour unfolds Michael Jackson’s artistry before the eyes of the audience.
Aimed at lifelong fans as well as those experiencing Michael’s creative genius for the first time, the show captures the essence, soul and inspiration of the King of Pop, celebrating a legacy that continues to transcend generations.
Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour will kick off at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at First Niagara Center. Tickets range from $50 to $250 and can be purchased online through Tickets.com.
I had a great opportunity to chat with a couple people involved with the show and what it’s like to bring Michael’s dream of working with Cirque to life. Seanne Farmer, the general stage manager for the show gave us some great insight about getting involved in the show, her favorite performances and more. Take a look at our interview with her below.
Tell us a little bit about your job on the tour.
Seanne Farmer: I’m the general stage manager for the show. I basically started with the show in creation in Montreal. I worked both with Cirque and the original conceivers and basically maintain the schedule and keep things going.
How did you originally get started in the project?
SF: I joined Cirque for the first time they entered the arena market. I had one prior tour with them and a background in the pop and rock concert circuit. They contacted me and how could I not? It’s the “king of pop.” Merged together, they really had some exciting things going on and I wanted to be a part of it.
What are some exciting things that people can expect from going to a show like this?
SF: There really isn’t a category that we’re not doing something groundbreaking in. It’s still mind-blowing everyday. We’re really carrying forth Michael’s work ethic and always trying to get bigger and better. Michael’s vocals combined with the band playing live is incredible.
One of our gentlemen spent 30 years with Michael. The video concert footage we use in the show includes a lot of never-before-seen things. WIth integrated effects and archival footage from music videos it’s really well put together. Video wise, a perfect mix of archival and live entertainment.
Our acrobats are top of the world and will blow your mind. They are the highest in those art forms. With iconic choreography too, all the choreographers had worked with Michael or danced with him on past tours.
What are some of your favorite parts of the show?
SF: The opening, the “Immortal Intro.” It’s complete true to form for an exciting opening, like a video tape of what is exactly going to happen for the night. It’s impossible not to get excited. I’d have a hard time thinking of favorites. Every other night I have a new one.
But when “Heal the World” comes on, you get emotionally pulled in those moments. Towards the end of the show, t’s a realization that he’s no longer with us.
Did you know Michael Jackson at all before his death?
SF: I didn’t personally, but I had passed him one time through a hallway with a bunch of his entourage. I grew up listening to “Want to Be Startin’ Somethin.” But I think he’d be incredibly proud of the show. One of his goals before he passed away was to start working with Cirque on a show. It really was the execution of his dream. What we’ve done, is bring that to life.
Any fun stories from being on tour?
SF: We can really entertain ourselves. We have been putting together mini-tournaments along the way. Recently, we took over a golf course and maybe 60 people showed up. Of those people, only 20 of us had ever played golf before.
One great thing about the show is that with 250 people, almost every person on this show was a fan of Michael and they really show that on and off the stage.
What would you like people from Buffalo to get out of this show, when they come to see it?
SF: Aside from being completely amazed and wowed, I want them to leave with Michael’s message and take a note from “Man in the Mirror.”
The underpinnings of THE IMMORTAL World Tour are Michael Jackson’s powerful, inspirational music and lyrics, the driving force behind the show, brought to life with extraordinary power and breathless intensity.
Through unforgettable performances Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour underscores Michael’s global messages of love, peace and unity.
Besides the tech and managing aspects of the show, it takes a lot to be a performer for Cirque du Soleil. We also had a chance to shat with acrobat and incredible performer, Harvey Donnelly about what it takes to make it to this level of performance. Take a look at our interview with him below.
So tell me a little bit about what your role is for the tour.
Harvey Donnelly: I’m an acrobat and performer for the show.
How did you originally get started training as an acrobat?
HD: I was a trampolinist originally back in England, where I had originally heard about Cirque du Soleil. I made a video and sent it into Cirque, a month later, they phoned me a offer to join. My whole family is performing on stage or in front of cameras. My Godfather is a juggler and he really got me started into that whole world. He took me to my first gymnastics class. I thought it looked dangerous and I havent stopped yet.
How did you get involved with the Michael Jackson tour?
HD: This show was the whole reason I even thought about making a video. The Michael Jackson show specifically prompted me to shoot some of my moves and tricks to send in to them. I wasn’t done competing yet, and just wanted to send them my stuff so I would have my name in the mix for the future. I was planning on turning down the offer, because the Michael Jackson show would have been the only job I would have considered. It’s been life changing so far.
Training as an acrobat is probably one of the most dedicated professions. Do you stick to any regiments?
HD: Getting into acrobats, gymnastics and dancing, I would say 99% of the people on the show do it for their passions—the job comes second. We’re blessed for doing a job we love to do. I personally stick to a high protein diet, but most of it is very relaxed and chill. Generally, as long as you keep yourself fit to perform, you’re fine.
What are your favorite parts of the show?
HD: I really enjoy my act, “Want to Be Startin’ Somethin’,” with mostly flips and acrobatics. Two of my other favorite numbers would be “Smooth Criminal” and “They Don’t Really Care About Us.” There are just iconic moves and it’s really everything you’ve been waiting for.
Had you met Michael Jackson before performing on this tour?
HD: He was one fo the people I would have done anything to meet. It was such an honor meeting his family too. They have been to a bunch of the shows and on a personal level, they are so nice and great people.
As an acrobat, what would be your dream role to perform or be a part of?
HD: For me, my plan has been doing many shows and being in different places. I would love to stay in the company with Cirque. It is such a great company to be part of. Maybe someday I can branch into character work too. It would challenge me and be a great next step.
Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil