PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



The Man in the Mirror, Onstage

Though Michael Jackson wasn’t at the show last night at the Bryce Jordan Center, his spirit definitely was. “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour,” Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to the famous singer featured his music, his choreography, and themes from his life, from childhood to saving the world from environmental harm and dictatorships. A live band accompanied Jackson’s voice, while a cast of 60 dancers and acrobats displayed his style and interpreted his songs.

Because the experience was more of a concert than a circus, I don’t think the show lived up to other Cirque productions (see my review of last year’s Quidam here. I didn’t have any mind-blowing moments, because the acts were focused more on dancing and spectacle than . Every number had a theme, but the show itself felt disconnected. The arrangements of the songs by the band were fine, but the music was so faithful to the original that it felt like listening to a “best of” playlist. I guess I was expecting something more, but I’m sure hardcore fans of Michael Jackson’s discography had the experience of a lifetime.

But it was still a fun show to watch. Some of the costumes incorporating color-changing LED lights were quite cool, and the lighting and projection designs dramatically accompanied the action. The performance of “Smooth Criminal,” with dancers dressed as gangsters while the film-noir music video played in the background, was a real highlight. “Thriller” was accompanied by dancing mummies and what can only be described as giant bats with glowing red eyes. On the other hand, some numbers were based around computer generated projections, like “Ben,” and I almost couldn’t wait for them to be over. But the firework display at the end made up for it– I didn’t know you could do that kind of stuff inside.

Standouts in the cast included Jean Sok, a one-legged dancer who used crutches to pull off some amazing moves, and Tina Guo and Desiree Basset, who came forward from the band to duel in an electric cello versus guitar battle. While I can’t recommend the show as a Cirque du Soleil fan, if you like Michael Jackson, you’ll find something to enjoy.

About the Author

Alex Federman

Alex is a Senior at Penn State who enjoys watching movies and television shows (probably a bit too much). He's a Film/Video major, with a Spanish minor.


More by Alex

From Pawnee to State College: Nick Offerman to Kick Off SPA LateNight

Comedian Nick Offerman, well-mustached star of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” (and professional woodworker), will kick off a semester of SPA events performing in Eisenhower Auditorium.

Senior Column: The Man Behind the Twitter

The Blue and White Film Festival Highlights the Best in Student Films


Center Ludvig Larsson Transfers To Penn State Hockey From Merrimack

The Swedish faceoff specialist graduated after three seasons at Merrimack, but will be immediately eligible to play for Guy Gadowsky in 2018-19.

Harris, Rivers Win Big Ten Titles On Final Day Of Competition

Penn State Women’s Soccer Releases 2018 Schedule

Penn State Women’s Lacrosse Loses To Penn 15-14 In Double OT

Penn State’s Kaleigh Riehl Headed To U.S. U-23 Camp

Student Life

Where Do Penn Staters Move After Graduation?

Not only is literally everyone at Penn State from “right outside of Philly,” ALMOST everyone also works “right outside of Philly.”

Penn Stater In The Running To Become Chief Taco Officer

Finding Your Penn State Beyond Penn State: Carolyn Popescu’s Senior Column

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

No Surprise Here: Saquon Barkley Can Throw, Too

Thirty yards out? No problem for Saquon Barkley.

Penn State Approved For Medical Marijuana Clinical Research

“The research component of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program sets it apart from the rest of the nation.”

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn Stater In The Running To Become Chief Taco Officer

Josiah Hritsko is one of three finalists to become Moe’s Southwest Grill’s “Chief Taco Officer.”

Send this to a friend