THE CHER SHOW
January 10, 2019
The new Broadway musical “The Cher Show” grabs profile fragments floating in the universe and composes a collage picture of Cher. Contemporary myths promoted Sonny as Cher’s Svengali. He was the star maker; she was the musical talent. There are times when the musical pulls back the curtain on that simplistic origin tale, but never enough to bring the story into focus.
The hopscotch book by Rick Elice glosses over historical milestones which is probably OK because the songs and Bob Mackie outfits take center stage.
That Cher was blessed with a remarkable voice is indisputable.
Happily, Chris Gattelli animates much of the music in tandem with director Jason Moore. The hard working corps flips through dance crazes of the 1960’s-80’s or so. Hips wiggle, bodies shimmy and arms pump over quicksilver feet. Out come steps from the sultry Madison, disco’s finger pointing snare and for added flair a flip, split and cartwheel or two. This potent chorus frames the stars, ultimately enlarging the performance. In large part, the dances are responsible for ginning up the pacing.
When Stephanie J. Block plays the “bad ass” mature Cher, the musical is in good hands. Additionally, Jarrod Spector rather successfully captures Sonny’s comedic timing and Italian swagger. But the results are more mixed when two other actors take on Cher as a young woman, Michaela Diamond and Teal Wicks as “smart mouth.”
The stars of the 1970’s Sonny and Cher weekly, variety TV show were Sonny, Cher, and Bob Mackie. In retrospect this would be a great fashion runway show because a large part of the musical and theatrical talent is sewn into Cher’s fashion moxie. Despite Cher’s fashion independence, that confidence did not originally extend to her business affairs. Sonny was in charge until Cher uncovered mis-appropriation of funds and then, she took over. This part of the story deserves more time because Cher’s handling of her affairs is a testament to all women taking charge.
Besides singing along, the audience ogled the sparkling, form fitting outfits that plunged down the front, slit up the sides, slashed down the back and only to be topped by headpieces that rivaled Nefritit’s crowns.
A lightly seasoned musical, "Cher" dispenses lots of musical hits into an audience willing to embrace a star who remains relevant.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis