Monday, June 25, 2012

Cirque du Soleil's "Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour" Brings Two Atlanta Natives Back To Their Hometown

When Philips Arena welcomes Cirque du Soleil next weekend for its “Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour” show, it will be more than just another show for some of the Cirque du Soleil team. It will also be a homecoming of sorts for two of the tour’s members.

Travis Payne is an Atlanta native and graduate of Northside School of the Arts. He began working with Michael Jackson as a choreographer in 1991 for Jackson’s music video, “Remember the Time.” He continued to work with the King of Pop until his death in 2009, including working with Jackson on his “This is It” tour.

Now, Payne is working as a Principal Choreographer for Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to Jackson’s life. However, he doesn’t plan to go with the show to Las Vegas for its expected opening in spring of 2013. Instead, Payne is hoping to open a dance studio in Atlanta, a dream he has had for a long time. He has been in talks to take over the former Atlanta Ballet building in Midtown according to a recent Access Atlanta article.

The other member of the Cirque du Soleil team coming back to his roots is saxophonist Mike Phillips. As part of the live band that accompanies most of the 25 song show, Phillips has had a chance to experience the whole spectacle but actually names part of the show that he isn’t involved in as his favorite. He says the quieter moment with a video of young Michael singing “I’ll Be There” reminds him of Jackson’s childhood intentions and that they were the same intentions he had when he passed.

The show is undoubtedly one that any Michael Jackson fan won’t want to miss. According to Travis Payne, via Access Atlanta, “You will laugh, cry, cheer, and reminisce. You’re never going to see a Michael Jackson concert again, but this is a wonderful homage.”

We hope to see you all at Philips Arena to welcome back these fellow Atlantans as they bring us the life story and music of the iconic Michael Jackson!

Tickets are still available for the shows June 29 – July 1. Get yours HERE!

For more information on Travis Payne and Mike Phillips, please visit

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