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Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show to offer new songs, secrets

By Alan Duke, CNN
  • Tickets go on sale Wednesday for shows starting in October
  • "Expect surprises," Cirque show's director says
  • Michael Jackson's estate is an equal partner in Cirque tour

Los Angeles, California (CNN) -- Michael Jackson's music and dance combined with Cirque du Soleil's magic promises to be a "beautiful hybrid," the writer-director of "Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour" said Wednesday.

"You can imagine those two worlds together," Jamie King said. "The show is huge."

Ticket sales started Wednesday for the first leg of the North American tour, which opens October 2 in Montreal, Canada.

Fans will hear Jackson music they've never heard before, unreleased songs recorded by the pop star in the years before his sudden death last year, King said.

"Expect surprises," King said. The show will "provide secrets and give things that people haven't necessarily heard or seen before."

"Michael was a great writer of poetry," he said, suggesting that Jackson's poems will be an element in the Cirque production.

But fans will also get "Michael Jackson as they knew Michael Jackson," King said.

"That means from his performance aspect, his energy that he gave on stage, and that will be reflected in not only the set and the costumes but in the lighting and the musicality of the show," he said. "The iconic choreography is extremely important. The Moonwalk, the 'Smooth Criminal' dance, 'Thriller,' 'Beat It.' "

King, who has directed many of the biggest world concert tours over the past decade, worked early in his career with Jackson on his 1992 "Dangerous" tour.

He's also gotten help from Jackie Jackson. Michael's oldest brother, who has also helped prepare an upcoming CD of unreleased songs, met with King to share insight about the pop star.

Designing a Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil production has "been a very natural process," King said.

"It makes so much sense for these two worlds to come together, because Michael was so into magic and fairy tale and everything that really Cirque is all about," he said. "He loved that innocence and childlike kind of creativity which Cirque provides."

The circus company, legendary for its creative and acrobatic performances, first talked to Jackson six years ago about the possibility of a Jackson-themed show, Cirque's president said when the agreement with his estate was announced in April. The estate and Cirque du Soleil are equal partners.

The show's tour visits nine Canadian and five U.S. cities in the last three months of 2011. Stops in 13 North American cities have been announced in the first half of 2012.

The MGM Mirage has signed on to host the Las Vegas, Nevada, residency starting in 2012. The hotel also will open a nightclub based on the Jackson show, the hotel said.