Thea Awards Recipients

Thea Awards 2014

Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Event Spectacular

Michael Jackson One (TM), Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Image 1/1: Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Event Spectacular: Michael Jackson One (TM), Mandalay Bay Hotel

This stunning, live entertainment spectacle represents an electrifying achievement for Cirque du Soleil, who have found a new creative recipe for today’s eclectic, media-centered audiences. In Michael Jackson ONE™ they’ve fused Cirque’s traditional energy with the iconic power of the King of Pop. The two make a perfect marriage; Michael was a longtime fan of Cirque’s magic, and many of his musical themes lend themselves to eclectic spectacle.

Michael Jackson ONE™ dazzles at every turn, alternating between multisensory overload and lingering poetry. The show’s creators have deconstructed Michael Jackson into his essential components, both physical and emotional. A single white glove... a fedora hat... a pair of sparkle-spatted shoes... each becomes a springboard to a segment of the show that grows from that single artifact into a mind-blowing series of images. Jackson’s eternal themes find physical expression as well: the healing of Love... the power of Belief... the glory of Unity... these grand ideas combine with Michael’s iconic visuals to remind us of humanity’s essential goodness and optimism, even in the face of unspoken sorrows and a life lived in the camera’s glare. 

Innovative: Yes. The show introduces a number of first-time performance technologies, including a crazy acrobatic performed on neon green elastic straps, and a manic number in which performers hurl themselves belly-first to the stage floor, then to spring high into the air like crickets. Mapped projection certainly isn’t new, but Michael Jackson ONE™ kicks it into warp drive, wrapping the entire stage, proscenium and theater walls in a dizzying barrage of images that adroitly capture the essence of each song. And while Michael himself is present throughout the show via multiscreen projection and clever costume  references, when the moment finally comes (as it must) for The Gloved One to appear in a holographic-style Pepper’s Ghost illusion, it’s done with such lyrical elegance and musical precision that Michael becomes a golden sparkling spirit, blessing the show’s dancers with his magic. 

Michael Jackson ONE™ qualifies as themed entertainment because despite the somewhat traditional stage format, it reaches beyond the proscenium to immerse audiences visually, sonically and emotionally. (Cirque has been honored with Thea Awards in the past - in 1998 for the “O” show, and again in 2005 for the stage technology of “Ka”.)

Award Credits