BEVERLY HILLS, California — By now, you may have heard that Cirque du Soleil has unveiled an ambitious plan to bring Michael Jackson back for a series of high-profile stage shows in Las Vegas and beyond. But what you might not know is that these plans will also take the King of Pop off the stage and into everything from nightclubs to restaurants to ... a reality show?
"There's not a lack of creativity around the table," grinned Cirque President and CEO Daniel Lamarre when we sat down with him on Tuesday (April 20). "Between [Michael Jackson estate co-executors] John McClain and John Branca and all the creative team at Cirque du Soleil, we're already bouncing a lot of new ideas around.
"This joint venture is not only for those two shows, but for all of the other initiatives that we can develop together," he added. "We are already working on the concept of nightclubs, restaurants and other experiences and other types of content that we can develop on the brand of Michael Jackson."
One of the leading concepts is a reality TV show that Lamarre hopes to launch by the end of this year. He describes it as a chance to combine television's two hottest shows, "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars," with the distinctive style of the King of Pop.
"John McClain came to us with the idea," he said of the yet-untitled program, which would have a national audience assisting as they built the Cirque stage shows. "We would pick the best choreographer that there is in the world to work on [our stage] show, but also use them in a reality show in order to find a new, cutting-edge choreographer that could join the team."
The reality show would also audition dancers for the MJ shows, with a certain number of the top contestants landing a Cirque gig. "That could be an exciting moment," Lamarre said of the show. "Right now there is a huge appetite for people that want to participate in this Michael Jackson tribute."
The Michael Jackson estate and Cirque du Soleil are spearheading the Michael Jackson projects with MGM Mirage, the gaming company that owns such Vegas hotels as Excalibur, Luxor, MGM Grand, Monte Carlo and more. Lamarre said that one of the MGM Mirage hotels will host the Las Vegas Michael Jackson/ Cirque show, and the venture's press release mentions that "special lifestyle projects including a nightclub" will be developed.
"We are exploring all of those opportunities right now," Lamarre offered. "We're at the early stages of those ideas. But we want to make sure that all the fans around the world that want to celebrate Michael Jackson have an opportunity to do it through the experiences we will bring to them."
But if those Michael Jackson-themed restaurants become a reality, Lamarre did make us one key promise: They won't include moonwalking waiters attempting to balance food trays.
"I don't think anybody can do it the way Michael Jackson was doing it," he laughed.
What Michael Jackson-themed attraction would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below!