Cirque du Soleil is taking Neverland Ranch on the road.
The first of the acrobatic troupe's two planned Michael Jackson shows will be set in a stylized version of the singer's famed Southern California home, according to Jamie King, writer and director of what Cirque is billing as "Michael Jackson, THE IMMORTAL World Tour," The Associated Press reports.
"It is really about a central character or characters who get transported into this world of Neverland where they learn everything there is to know about Michael," said King, who has directed concert tours for Madonna, Rihanna and Céline Dion.
The tour will kick off in Montreal next October and hit 30 cities including New York (April 2012 at Madison Square Garden), Miami, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. John Branca, co-executor of Jackson's estate, said that depending on fan response, it could be extended beyond its planned end in the summer of 2012 and travel outside of North America.
Excerpts from Jackson's music videos and extended scenes from last year's "This Is It" documentary will be part of the 90-minute show, but no performer will represent Jackson specifically.
"Michael Jackson is throughout the entire show, but in no way am I going to use a stand-in," King said, adding that songs would include hits from "Thriller" to "Smooth Criminal," as well as new remixes like those made for Cirque's Beatles show, "Love." "Immortal" will also feature as-yet-unreleased songs that Jackson had finished before his death last year, including some from an album that the singer's estate hopes will go on sale by Christmas, Branca said.
A select number of tickets were being sold to fan clubs of Michael Jackson and Cirque Du Soleil starting Wednesday. The rest go on sale Saturday.