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The King of Pop is back! The Guardian reports that Michael Jackson has begun rehearsal for his marathon of London performances—50 crotch-grabbing moonwalks in 50 nights, beginning July 9. According to the UK broadsheet, Jackson spends “four days a week at a rehearsal space near Los Angeles’s Burbank airport. The show will be called This Is It, with a projected budget ‘north of $20m.'”
Considering the team Jackson’s assembled, $20 mill seems a conservative estimate. Along with the requisite army of pelvic-thrusting backup dancers and purported 22 set changes, Jackson chose High School Musical director and choreographer Kenny Ortega to direct this epic comeback effort. According to the Guardian:
“My answer without a beat was nothing could keep me away,” Ortega said in a statement. He has chosen a slew of new and established choreographers, including Travis Payne, who worked on Dancing with the Stars, and Rich and Tone Talauega, who collaborated with another controversial star, Chris Brown.
According to Ortega, Jackson is working on a new dance move to unveil at the show, but when pressed by the Guardian he refused to elaborate: “I’m sworn to secrecy.” Moonwalk 2.0?!
All that preparation, recruiting and creating is with good reason; “This Is It” will be Jackson’s first live performance in 12 years, and all 50 dates—costing concertgoers £50.00 – £75.00 a ticket—are sold out. As the L.A. Times conjectures, “The ambitious schedule of 50 sold-out shows could turn out to be the final, sad chapter of Jackson’s storied career—or one of pop music’s all-time greatest comeback stories.”
Here’s hoping for the latter.