“All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.” – Cher
“The Cher Show” playing at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre demonstrates what a true original Cher is and was. She should have been quoted that “All of us REINVENT ourselves” since that is her hallmark in trade. Using multiple actresses to play the different facets of Cher’s reinventions and personalities was an effective visual and vocal tool to bring her to life on stage. The show is not only for avid Cher fans. It is for anyone who loves a good concert and rags-to-riches story.
Stephanie Block (who is a Broadway star in her own right) uses her powerful voice to play the main Cher. She is energetic in an athletic and demanding performance. Her heartwarming vocals in Act II demonstrate her true acting talent.
The other main stars are the lighting design (by Kevin Adams) and costuming by Bob Mackie. The scenic design also provides a timeline of nostalgic images that are reminiscent of every variety show Cher helmed. The scene with Cher as a young girl in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater has such a stunning use of projections that the audience went wild.
The costumes also honor the spirit with which Cher has lived her life. Nothing is out of bounds, and I venture to guess that not one sequin was spared in these dazzling spectacles. Michael Berresse plays Bob Mackie with aplomb.
The two audience members dressed from top to toe as Cher showed that her fans will come out in droves for this piece and not be disappointed. The only part of the production that could use polishing would be the writing of the book. It is a bit disjointed and pedestrian. And the entire piece is somewhat lengthy and could use some trimming.
The actor who played Phil Spector was effective as a caricature in his green jumpsuit and with laugh-out-loud humor.
The biggest surprise is how much Cher has excelled in the acting arena. For her to slip into a character where you lose sight of the fact that she is Cher is a testament to her true talent and imagination. The Oscar win in Act II shows that she does possess some humanity and humility.
Not many performers can reach the heights of stardom in so many different arenas. The beauty of Cher is that she does not seem to take herself too seriously. This tells us the story of why that is true. Her upcoming cameo role in the new “Mamma Mia” movie is anticipated by her fans and anyone who appreciates her independence. Imaginative … indeed. Reimagining herself, even better.
Tickets for the world premiere of “The Cher Show” at Broadway in Chicago’s Oriental Theatre start at $33. A select number of premium seats also are available for many performances. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut St.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at 800-775-2000, and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
Chicago world premiere tickets are on sale now. The show runs through July 15.