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BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR

MICHAEL-JACKSON-THE-IMMORTAL-WORLD-TOUR-BY-CIRQUE-DU-SOLEIL-AN-INTERVIEW-WITH-ARTISTIC-DIRECTOR-TARA-YOUNG-20010101

CIRQUE DU SOLEIL is setting up at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina for MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR on March 13-14, 2012. Tickets are on sale now through Ticketmaster.com. The show will bring Michael Jackson’s powerful music and lyrics to life using original master recordings with some never heard before sounds, along with Cirque du Soleil’s breathtaking visual artistry. The show promotes Michael’s messages of love, peace and unity.

I had the opportunity to speak with the show’s Artistic Director, Tara Young while she was at work in Jacksonville, Florida. She has been with the tour since its inception. Along with her talent, Tara brings her strong work ethic.

LAW: Where are you, and what are you doing today?

TY: I am in the Arena in Jacksonville Florida. The team set up my office this morning here. It’s load-in day. Tonight is the first show here.

LAW: You must have a very creative spirit, when did you start dancing?

TY: I started dancing at the age of 3.

LAW: Were your parents dancers?

TY: No, my mom put me in tap dancing class at 3. Later, I took singing lessons and acting lessons.

LAW: You grew up in Calgary, Alberta, were the winters cold in Calgary?

TY: Oh yes, the winters were very cold.

LAW: When did you decide to come to New York City?

TY: I decided I wanted to go to New York to be on "Broadway" when I was 10-years-old.  At 18, I went to the city to audition for "STEPPIN OUT at Radio City Music Hall" with Liza Minnelli. I was one of 1,000 girls who auditioned and they picked 8 of us. I was very fortunate, because as a Canadian, it was difficult to get working papers to work in the states. I was fortunate that they picked me.

LAW: How did you feel, at that age working with Liza Minnelli

TY: I never had a feeling like that. It was great. Her excellence and what she expected from the cast of the show on a daily basis suited my personality.

LAW: When did you decide to become an artistic director and how is that different from a choreographer?

TY: As the artistic director, I have the skill set to maintain the integrity of the show. Ten chorographers worked on creating the show. I was there from the beginning, observing. My job is to keep the show at the highest level of performance every night, so the audience sees it as if it were opening night.

LAW: What other shows have you been artistic director for?

TY: This was the first show I have worked for as an artistic director.

LAW: How long have you been with Cirque?

TY: I started on April 25, 2011. The first show was in 2011 and I was there from the initial stages.

LAW: How did you get the job?

TY: It was a quiet time on Broadway, so I applied and had meetings with them. I went to the IHQ, that’s Cirque’s International Headquarters in Montreal. I never saw a place so big. It was like a small little country.

LAW: Like the biggest airplane hanger?

TY: It’s bigger and more beautiful. They have everything there to prepare the shows. There’s a school for the families who have children, a library, physical therapists, everything.

LAW: Whose idea was it to take Michael Jackson’s music and story and incorporate it into a Cirque du Soleil show?

TY: It was a combination of the Director, Jamie King, Jackson’s representatives and Cirque du Soleil.

LAW: Did you ever meet, or work with Michael Jackson?

TY: No, I didn’t, but there are a handful of musicians in the show who have worked with Michael for many years and Michael’s choreographers choreographed the show. To have the authenticity of his people with us on this show is great.

LAW: How has this show’s music with the heart of Michael Jackson been different from other shows you have done?

TY: Every show I have ever been a part of has given me inspiration. His music though, had meaning and intention.

LAW: There are 28 numbers in the show, what is your favorite visually?

TY: “Smooth Criminal” embodies Michael and the original choreography supports that. And also, “Man In the Mirror,”... I love that one so much.

LAW: Do you travel with the show the entire time?

TY: Yes.

LAW: How many acrobats and dancers are in the show? Do they rotate, or do they perform in each show?

TY: There are 63 artists in the show. They are onstage at each performance, but a performer can fill in, if a performer can’t do a show. We travel all contained with masseuses, physical therapists, a full gymnasium and catering. Some are vegetarians. We provide the talent with everything they need.

LAW: Did you need all of the props and puppets before you could get to work?

TY: The props and puppets were fully there when the show was choreographed.

LAW: What do you think the audience will take away as the message of the show?

TY: We honor and represent Michael with love and respect. I think the audience is inspired and leaves with a sense of hope…. And also, a sadness because he is gone.

LAW: How often do you get back to your home in NYC?

TY: Not too often. This tour has kept me very busy.

LAW: When you do get back there, what do you do?

TY: I love the efficiency of New York. I live on the west side. I enjoy the restaurants around Columbus Circle.

LAW: What’s the most fun about being on the road?

TY: It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. It is helping me grow and be free of attachments.

LAW: What’s the worst about being on the road?

TY: I see the beauty in it all. I am so fortunate to have a job and manage the biggest show. I consider it all one big beautiful pie. I have joy doing my job.

LAW: After Charlotte where does the tour go—what cities?

TY: We do 4 to 5 shows a week. Well, we leave Jacksonville for Raleigh and then Charlotte. After that Milwaukee, Montreal, Quebec, Minneapolis, Newark, New York City, Long Island and Philadelphia.

LAW: Wow, what do you do to keep up your energy?

TY: I workout 3 or 4 days a week, and I sleep 8 hours a night. Sleep is very important.

LAW: Do audiences react differently in different cities?

TY: The audience is up on their feet consistently, city to city. The show is that good.

LAW: Do you mean they give a standing ovation?

TY: I mean they’re up on their feet with the music.

LAW: Do you have any thoughts that you would like to mention about something I didn’t ask?

TY: Well to do my job, a work ethic is important, reputation and kindness. Kindness goes a long way in show business. 

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Artistic Director, Tara Young

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR
Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour

BWW Interviews: Tara Young on MICHAEL JACKSON THE IMMORTAL WORLD TOUR

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Linda Ann Watt Linda Ann Watt is a member of SAG, AFTRA and AEA and owns Corlin Productions, a union franchised production house. Through Corlin Productions, Watt has written and directed film, television, documentaries, commercials and educational programs with celebrity guests including Betty White, Nell Carter, Dom DeLuise, Aaron Neville, Tippi Hedren and Sid Caesar. Watt teaches two acting & scene study classes at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center—the Master Class using "Method" techniques and the Workshop Advanced for working actors, directors and writers. Watt has been a recipient of a Grass Roots Arts Project (GAP) Grant 2008-2012, awarded through the Union County Community Arts Council (UCCAC) and the North Carolina Arts Council for an Enrichment Arts Program teaching acting and filmmaking & editing to youth, coordinated though Union County Public School (UCPS). Watt produces lectures featuring entertainment industry and celebrity guests for the Charlotte community. As a past executive board member of Women In Film in Los Angeles, Watt chaired and produced the Academy Awards© Viewing Party four consecutive years, which became an annual top Hollywood event. Watt has appeared in movies, television stage and national commercials. Watt is presently in post-production with her children’s series for Funny Productions, a division of Corlin Productions and she has been asked to direct a feature film "Thirty Day Promise" in late summer. For more information: www.corlinproductions.com


 
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