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