ABC News’ Sarah Lang reports:
Don’t be fooled by the red clown nose Guy Laliberte might don, he’s no fool. The self-made billionaire is the founder and creative mind behind the worldwide phenomenon, Cirque du Soleil.
A street performer, Laliberte left his home in Quebec, Canada, at 16. He played his father’s accordion on the street, making money to travel the world. With each new destination came a new circus talent: He walked on stilts, became a magician and even learned to breathe fire.
Always a dreamer, traveling as a street performer was not enough for Laliberte. He decided to create his own circus that was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Twenty-seven years later, Cirque du Soleil is a household name and worldwide sensation and Laliberte, 52, said he knows why.
“We create amazing universe of creative environment which permit people to make an amazing journey. You have to see it,” he said.
Many will. More than 1 billion tickets are expected to sell this year around the world as 22 performances hit the stage.
The show that is contributing to the boom in ticket sales is Cirque’s latest hit: “Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour.” The show combines the music of the King of Pop with Cirque’s jaw-dropping displays of agility, dance and theater.
The largest and most ambitious show ever created by Cirque, it is already selling out across the country. The costumes and energy, Laliberte said, capture the true essence of Jackson and his music.
“Michael was a great performer,” he said. ” He was a great creative person, and very similar to who we are at Cirque du Soleil, a dreamer.”
Watch the full story on “20/20″ Friday at 10 p.m. and catch a sneak peek below.