Michael Jackson ONE, Cirque du Soleil's 33rd production, is a permanent stage show that opened at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013.A sister production to the arena tour Michael Jackson The IMMORTAL World Tour (with the same writer/director, Jaime King, at its helm), the show has a similar Jukebox Musical format and many of the same songs but a different Excuse Plot: Four misfits discover and invoke the four fabled traits of Michael Jackson — agility, courage, playfulness, and love — to conquer the forces of evil. These qualities are embodied in four magical articles of clothing, as it happens.As for the title, ONE refers to Jackson's superstar status, the promise that the bulk of the show would feature his #1 charting songs (though only 10 of the 33 songs used actually achieved that position in the U.S.), and his dream of a completely united human race.
This show contains examples of:
Animesque: The animated segment during "Scream" is drawn in this style.
Artistic License - History: There are onstage references to two notorious tabloid stories of Michael from The Eighties, namely that he slept in a hyperbaric chamber and wanted to buy the skeleton of Joseph Merrick (aka the Elephant Man). These stories are portrayed as typical inventions of the gutter press, but in real life Michael and his crew created and planted them for publicity purposes. Michael always claimed the tabloids made up the stories, however, and the show takes him at his word.
Concepts Are Cheap: Of the four traits Jackson supposedly embodies, agility and playfulness are obvious, but courage and especially love less so, thus falling into this trope. This was probably bound to happen in a show with no actual dialogue; a few spoken word sound bites of Jackson himself don't go very far in explaining what they're supposed to mean. But hey, courage and love are good things, right? And the bad guys are weak against them, right?
Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The Tabloid Junkies wear trenchcoats, often paired with fedoras (otherwise, they wear headpieces with attached cameras) and dark sunglasses.
Crucified Hero Shot: At the end of the "Earth Song" shadow play, the performers create an image of Michael in this pose, which he used so often in performance himself. The performers also strike the pose as the show ends.
Dance Battler / She-Fu: Shy, once she dons the glasses. (Specifically, she is using the martial art known as Wushu.)
Everything's Better With Sparkles: Wink's black getup is sparkly in the way that Jackson's Motown 25 "Billie Jean" jacket was sparkly, and the hat jugglers are similarly twinkly. By the end of the show — but particularly during "Man in the Mirror" and "Can You Feel It" — there's sparkly golden magic dust flying/being flung about everywhere, thankfully not literally (rather, on film).
Excuse Plot: The setup's just a framework for acrobatics and hit tunes.
Great Balls Of Fire: A stream of fireworks erupts from the neck of the Muse's guitar at one point. The whole show is drenched in Spectacle, of course; fireworks go off in the opening sequence and smoke effects will be used.
Historical Hero Upgrade: Presenting Michael Jackson as a larger-than-life inspirational figure to the point that the protagonists want to follow in his footsteps and his Clothes Make the Superman requires this trope, as in Real Life he wasn't a great role model. His estate has a stake in the show and the key creative team worked with him while he was alive, so this was to be expected.
No Fourth Wall: As is usual for Cirque; during "Stranger in Moscow" the audience even gets snowed upon!
The Obi-Wan: He's physically gone before the story actually begins but via his music, videos, and magical props Michael serves as this to the protagonists according to this interview with the director and the director of creation, the latter of whom even compares him to the trope namer.
Starring Special Effects: Turns up in the late going. "Man in the Mirror" features the cast dancing with a Jackson hologram.
Strawman News Media: As in Jackson's songs, the mass media is portrayed as a cruel entity that preyed upon him for money by painting his behavior in a negative light — to the point that a representation of it is the Big Bad, and its Paparazzi minions turn out to be werewolves.
Tabloid Melodrama: The Tabloid Junkies relentlessly stalk people (even the audience in the preshow) to create tabloid front page fodder, but Michael is their prime target.
White Gang Bangers: In "Bad"; of course, they're all Badbutt characters anyway, so realism was never going to be in the cards.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: The ensemble includes dancers with hair in neon tints of blue, green, pink, etc. Beggar Boy has bright orange hair that brings Ziggy Stardust to mind (as does his glittery blue eyeshadow).