Currently packing them in at the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway, I’m happy to report The Cher Show is a thoroughly enjoyable love-fest for all things ‘Cher.’
When you are tasked with chronicling the life of a diva whose career spans more than five decades, two rock star husbands and 35 huge hit songs, it’s easy to see why the creators of the new show chose to design the evening around three actresses playing the iconic star.
Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block (Wicked, Mystery of Edwin Drood, Falsettos) anchors the trio of ‘Chers’ as “Star.” Teal Wicks (Finding Neverland, Wicked) plays the hyphenate artist in the middle of her life, “Lady.” And Micaela Diamond, making her Broadway debut, brings the singer’s early years to life as “Babe.”
Wicks and Diamond are terrific as the sassy, emerging incarnations of the future Emmy Award winner.
And Block is everything you want in a musicalized version of Cher: strength, charisma and a voice that’s as thrilling as it is emotive. When Block is onstage, we all feel assured of our diva.
Not only do the three take turns playing out the life of the Oscar winner, but they interact with each other as well. Kind of the id, ego and super-ego all onstage together.
The production has obvious appeal for the LGBTQ community, who has sung along with, danced to, and cheered for this early unconventional icon who made her own way.
All the huge hits are here including “Believe,” “I Got You Babe,” “The Beat Goes On,” “Bang Bang,” “Half-Breed,” “Believe” and more.
Props to director Jason Moore for bringing a sense of 1970s variety-show style in order to give a frame to the proceedings. The choice helps justify the performances of dozens of songs from Cher’s catalogue and make them more theatrical.
Tony Award winning choreographer Chris Gattelli finds the sweet spot of variety show dance styles, especially in the knock-out ‘Dark Lady,’ which brings a fourth ‘dancing Cher’ to the stage for the terpsichorean extravaganza.
I should note the night I saw the show, Amy Quanbeck filled in as the dancing ‘Dark Lady’ and turned it out! Just goes to show you – don’t worry when you see an understudy or cover on the Broad Way, cause these folks are on point. Props to Ms. Quanbeck for a show-stopping turn.
And costumes! Cher’s long-time fashion guru, Bob Mackie, has brought all the sequins and feathers and glam you could want in flamboyant Cher-tastic style.
And Mackie gets stage time of his own here via Broadway veteran Michael Berresse (Chicago, Kiss Me Kate, A Chorus Line).
You can’t tell the story of Cher without a ‘Sonny,’ and fortunately The Cher Show has Tony Award nominee Jarrod Spector (Beautiful, Jersey Boys).
Spector has just enough of the Sonny Bono look for us to believe, but he’s also rocking serious six-pack abs (we get to see in a brief bedroom scene). And the first time he opens his mouth to sing in “I Got You Babe,” he nails that famously-nasal Bono tone. The audience roared the night I attended the show.
All in all, this is a big, fun, brash musical that is wildly entertaining and delivers just what Cher’s fandom wants.
The night I attended, the show was sold out. Before and after the show, I mentioned to a couple of bartenders I was seeing the show and the reaction was the same from both: all their customers loved it.
With World Pride happening in New York City this summer, it’s easy to imagine the LGBTQ community flocking to the Neil Simon Theatre for this story of self-reinvention as our fabulous diva for the ages revels in extravagance and empowerment.
For more info about The Cher Show on Broadway, head over to the official website here.
As the tagline for the production says, “Let’s do this, bitches!”