Unlike LOVE, Cirque’s Beatle-themed show, Michael Jackson ONE works like gangbusters. Its blend of the brilliantly conceived pop music (and pop culture touchstones) created by Michael Jackson and the pop-art interpretive lens of Cirque du Soleil is a perfect union. Massive walls of video seem to envelop the audience while speakers, built into the seats, pump the timeless soundtrack of Jackson classics, remixed and remastered, directly into your brain. Each is presented with a set piece that ranges from evocative to stunning to giddy glee-inducing. “Bad” features a gang zooming in on zip lines and bouncing around on what amounts to a giant rubber band stretched across the stage; “Wanna Be Starting Something” showcases an acrobatic troupe using Jackson’s iconic fedoras as twirling and twisting props; a mashup of “Human Nature” and “Never Can Say Goodbye” has a solo dancer doing expert human animation; “Billie Jean” evokes the lighted sidewalk in the music video with lighted suits on dancers performing in an otherwise darkened theater. By the time they get to the part where it “snows” on the audience, or the “Thriller” homage with zombies on trampolines, you’ll want to stand up and cheer. And when the company dances with a so-realistic-it-hurts hologram of Jackson during “Man in the Mirror,” you may have a lump in your throat. It’s okay if you do. You need to be at least an appreciator of the music and also willing to overlook the subtle hagiography of the guy who created it to properly enjoy the show. But anyone who ever danced to a track of “Thriller”—which is pretty much everybody—will be, in a word, thrilled. Shows are held Friday through Tuesday at 7 and 9:30pm.
- Grace Bascos