MJ Works To Top Moonwalk
The Los Angeles Times reports Jackson is holed up near L.A. with a production team as he rehearses for his upcoming stand at London’s O2 Arena.
Four mornings a week, an SUV with darkened windows bears Michael Jackson through the gates outside a nondescript building near the Burbank airport. He spends the next six hours on a soundstage in the company of 10 dancers and pop music’s best-known choreographer.
So who has the chops to help the 50-year-old Jackson pull off what will unquestionably be the comeback of all time (if it actually happens, that is)? None other than “Dirty Dancing” and “High School Musical” choreographer Kenny Ortega.
In a statement, Ortega called Jackson “the greatest entertainer of our generation” and said he was eager to collaborate with him again. “My answer without a beat was nothing could keep me away,” he said.
In addition to Ortega, who worked with Jackson on his Dangerous and HIStory tours, the singer has tapped Travis Payne (Madonna, Beyoncé), Todd Sams (Usher) and Riche & Tone Talauega (Chris Brown).
The Times also reports a two-day casting call for dancers for the upcoming shows attracted 700 hopefuls “from the elite agencies across the world,” with eight lucky men and two lucky women getting the nod.
And if information from the tour’s producer AEG Live is any indication, Jackson and company will have lots of room to work in. Company CEO Randy Phillips told the Times the show’s budget is “north of $20 million” and features as many as 22 different sets.
“It’s going to be the biggest, most technologically advanced arena show – and the most expensive – ever mounted,” Phillips explained, adding “No animals! No animals!” in response to rumors in the British press that a menagerie would be part of the production.
Another rather odd rumor being circulated is that the show will feature a duet with Jackson’s eldest son, Prince Michael.
As for how the singer plans to top the moonwalk, according to Phillips he’s deadly serious about doing it.
“He’s working on it,” he said, refusing to say more: “I’m sworn to secrecy.”
And with details about the rest of the show locked up tight, it looks like everyone will just have to wait until July to see if MJ can overcome the numerous lawsuits, rumors about ill health and naysayers to once again thrill fans.