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September 1, 2014

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Michael Jackson news: Madame Tussauds, jury selection, competing show

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Michael Jackson and Kenny Ortega rehearse for the King of Pop’s 50-date concert run in London beginning July 8.

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Just as the search for 18 jurors in the Michael Jackson death trial against Dr. Conrad Murray gets underway today in L.A., Madame Tussauds at the Venetian unveils a new display experience. Three wax figures will be unveiled to highlight various stages in the late King of Pop’s career.

More than $1 million was spent on the wax sculptings to cover The Jackson 5 years, the Invincible era and the ill-fated This Is It planned concerts in London that were shelved upon his death. The Michael Jackson Experience, which had only been seen previously in L.A., is a limited-engagement attraction that will run at the Venetian from today through Dec. 27.

Anybody who shows that they share the same Aug. 29 birthday as Michael receives free admission. The superstar began his relationship with Madame Tussauds in 1984 with his first sitting for measurements and reference photos. His waxwork figure has been reproduced for every Madame Tussauds around the world.

Meantime, plans were revealed this week for a new Michael Jackson touring show that pits it against the planned Cirque du Soleil Immortal production. Two members of Michael’s family -- brother Tito and eldest sister Rebbie -- have teamed with producer David Gest and singer Deniece Williams, a longtime family friend, for the traveling show.

They say that their production will combine never-before-told details about The King of Pop and feature a treasure trove of unseen footage and Katherine Jackson videos of Michael that David will partially show in a new documentary on Michael set for release this winter.

A Jackson Named Michael: Remembering a Legend will reportedly be an intimate and glittering tribute with Tito, Rebbie and Deniece performing Michael’s classic hits through the years. Audiences will be invited to sing along and ask questions of the stars onstage.

The show will first run in 24 British cities starting in March and then move to elsewhere in Europe, Australia and the U.S. Cirque’s production will premiere in Montreal on Oct. 2 and has already twice expanded its play dates in cities around the world for the first two years of its run.

Immortal lands here at Mandalay Bay Events Center in early December, and then in 2013, Cirque plans to open a full resident show, replacing The Lion King at Mandalay Bay Theater.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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