The contortionist, mime, tumblers and pole dancing acrobat would be enough on their own. But when Cirque du Soleil rolls into Hartford in May, they will be bringing one of Connecticut’s own with them.
Desiree Bassett — originally from Ashford, a town of 4,317 in Windham County — is the lead guitarist in Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour.
Playing within the blues and rock genres, Ms. Bassett picked up her first guitar at the age of three. She says she was mostly self-taught with help by her father, though she has had the occasional private lesson.
Her experience with Cirque du Soleil brings many firsts for her. She has not toured before, nor has she played pop.
“It was a lot of fun learning,” she said.
Despite the strong background in blues and rock, she’s open-minded enough to find some pop redeemable, saying she enjoys some of Lady Gaga’s music.
During the shows, she has solos with the chance to improvise. In the show, written and directed by Jamie King, Michael Jackson’s music is rearranged, but on “Thriller,” it remains true to what audiences would expect.
It is estimated that THE IMMORTAL tour will last through 2014. When that’s over, Ms. Bassett says she plans to tour with her own band.
As for a more formal musical education, that has yet to be decided. She missed an application deadline for Berklee, but said “it’s never too late to go back,” a fine perspective to hold while given an opportunity like touring with Cirque du Soleil.
In the meantime, she will be averaging 3-5 shows in two cities per week. The touring lifestyle means she sometimes falls behind on what is happening with friends and family, but she says she uses Skype and Facebook to keep in touch.
She seems to enjoy traveling, nonetheless.
“Every night,” she says, “it is a thrill for me to be there.”
On May 2nd and 3rd, you will have the opportunity to see what a production requiring 35 trucks and 205 full time workers — including sixty dancers, musicians, and acrobats — looks like.
Both shows begin at 8pm in the XL Center (Civic Center). Ticket prices vary and are available through Ticketmaster.