Cirque du Soleil to create Jackson show

Arena touring production expected in fall 2011

Cirque du Soleil will develop a series of shows based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson, representatives for the late singer's estate said on Tuesday.

The projects include touring and permanent shows and a nightclub to open in Las Vegas.

The first project from the partnership will be an arena touring show expected to open in late fall 2011.

"Having attended Cirque du Soleil performances with Michael, I know he was a huge fan," John Branca, a co-executor of the estate, said in a statement.

"We are excited to be partners with Cirque du Soleil to give Michael's fans a truly unique way to hear, see and feel Michael's music," Branca said.

The "Thriller" singer's estate and Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil will each own half of each project arising from the partnership. They will split development and production costs, representatives for the estate said.

The singer's mother, Katherine, said in a statement, "Our family is thrilled that Cirque du Soleil will pay tribute to my son in such an important way."

Jackson died on June 25 at age 50 in Los Angeles. Authorities have said he suffered an overdose of powerful medications and his personal doctor, Conrad Murray, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.

The Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil currently has a show in Las Vegas based on singer Elvis Presley, called "Viva Elvis."
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