Performing Arts: Theater
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, choreographer Chris Gattelli animates the musical 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. Gattelli’s potent chorus frames the stars, ultimately enlarging the performance. In fact, the dances gins up the pacing.

Cher’s lifespan is divided between three actors and when Stephanie J. Block plays the “bad ass” mature Cher; the show is in good hands. Additionally, Jarrod Spector rather successfully captures Sonny’s comedic timing and Italian swagger. However, results are more mixed when Michaela Diamond plays Cher as a young woman and Teal Wicks portrays “smart mouth.”

We are reminded that the stars of the 1970’s “Sonny and Cher” weekly, variety TV show were really 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 misappropriation of funds and then, she took over. This part of the narrative deserved more time.

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 topped by headpieces rivaling Nefertiti’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

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