During my recent one day trip to New York, I was able to catch a matinee preview with my theater friend Koreen to see The Cher Show on Broadway. We were lucky to snag a couple of tickets a few weeks prior to the show since it was sold out on the day of show. The usher told us the real Cher had been there for the evening performance the night before. Cher is a producer of the show and had been coming to previews often to see how things were going and to tell the cast stories of her 50 years in show business. The show had its official premiere opening on December 3rd and its namesake was in attendance!
There are three actresses playing Cher in various ages of her life. Micaela Diamond is Babe, the young Cher, Lady is the middle years Cher portrayed by Teal Wicks who has been in “Wicked” on Broadway and Star, the current Cher, played by Broadway & TV actress, Stephanie J. Block. The two younger versions talk to the current Cher about the situations in her life, mainly about those men in her life. You know who they are, Sonny Bono, Gregg Allman and Rob Camilletti. Cher has been involved with other famous men like Gene Simmons, Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise among others reported in magazines over the years. She had children with Bono & Allman and Camilletti was clearly a very serious relationship for her in that time period of her life and they are still friends. There is an appearance by Cher’s mom Georgia Holt played by Emily Skinner. Both Chaz and Elijah Blue are shown as infants and mentioned during the show, but this is Cher’s story and her children’s adult lives are not for the telling.
The re-creation of the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour on the stage brings back a sense of nostalgia for the audience. I grew up watching Sonny & Cher, loved the costumes, the banter, the music, Cher’s classic Laverne character and the best of all, the V.A.M.P sketches. Actor Jarrod Spector plays Sonny Bono and does it well. What we find out is that Bono isn’t exactly the clown to Cher’s straight man, but a shrewd businessman who left Cher with very little at the end. Husband #2 rocker Gregg Allman, who was fighting drug problems and dealing with ex-husband Bono who was still trying to get back in business with Cher. Matthew Hydzik, who plays Gregg, does a good job of singing some of Allman’s big hits. In an interview he said he studied Gregg’s performances on YouTube and got down how he moved and walked. Cher was stunned by Hyzdik’s movements and said he moved just like Allman. My only complaint here is with the dancing bar scene with Allman, it is pretty hokey. Gregg Allman is a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame musician who should have a better intro than that. It was during her time with Allman that the solo Cher TV show debuted which is also depicted in the play.
One of the biggest stars of all of the shows including this one show is the costumes by, whom else, Bob Mackie! Mr. Mackie is portrayed in the show by Michael Berresse with a fun, musical number. Those incredible, iconic costumes that Cher has worn at various events of her life, including the 1985 Oscars gown to that jaw-dropping T-back number from “If I Could Turn Back Time” video, aboard the naval ship. The hit musical numbers are peppered throughout the show and not in a musical timeline as one would expect but more according to the scenes in the show. The encore is “Believe” and has the audience up dancing and singing along with the entire cast on stage. A fun feel-good show, Cher has shown us she has been an innovator of her “Woman’s World” and has recreated herself many times with staying power!
Her story continues with the upcoming “Here We Go Again” tour opening on January 17, 2019 in Estero, Florida, then moving on for three more dates to Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Jacksonville. You can check out Ticketmaster click here for dates and tickets.
Photos courtesy of Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post