More than half a century after an adventurous teenager recorded “I Got You Babe” with her boyfriend Sonny Bono, the life and career of Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman is being transformed into a lavish Broadway musical, The Cher Show. How can six decades of superstardom (with no end in sight) be compressed into one evening of theater? For starters, three charismatic actresses share the title role, narrating and commenting on the highs and lows of Cher’s oh-so-eventful existence while singing 35 smash hits. In recent chats with Broadway Direct, Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks, and Micaela Diamond reflected on the many sides of Cher — and the power of taking the stage in sparkling Bob Mackie gowns. See them live during The Cher Show’s premiere engagement at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (through July 15) and at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre (beginning November 1).
Stephanie J. Block
Before The Cher Show: A two-time Tony Award nominee for revivals of Falsettos and The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Block has starred on Broadway in Wicked, The Pirate Queen, 9 to 5, and Anything Goes. She made her Broadway debut as Liza Minnelli in The Boy From Oz.
Becoming an Icon: “The challenge for me in playing Cher is to balance the extraordinary creature you see in concerts with the vulnerable free spirit she is in real life. Everything surrounding her is over-the-top, and yet there is something very grounded about Cher. She’s been the coolest chick around for six decades! Stepping in to play any living legend is daunting, but if you’re going to jump into someone’s sequins, Cher is the one.”
Quick-Change Artist: “I have 21 costumes and more than 30 costume changes, but it’s not excess, it’s Cher. Every element in the show is epic and magical, but it feels appropriate for this story and this woman. When I was offered the part, I looked at my husband [actor Sebastian Arcelus] and said, ‘I’m going on to 46 years old. When will I ever be asked to be a pop goddess again?’ I knew I had to do it.”
A Beautiful Life: “I get to be on stage for the majority of the show, whether I’m part of the story line or watching my younger selves. There are moments when a youthful, vibrant, fearless Cher takes over, and others when an older, wiser Cher weighs in. The storytelling has such a beautiful human element, which is something Cher was very vocal about. She said, ‘I love the humor, I love the sparkle, but give me the heart.’”
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THE CHER SHOW TURNS BACK TIME ON A POP ICON’S SIX DECADES OF STARDOM
You may cherish Cher as the sassy star of 1970s TV variety shows, as a deep-voiced disco-era diva, as an Oscar-winning actress, as a Las Vegas headliner, or as the wittiest person on Twitter (or all of the above). From hippie chick to pop culture icon, this superstar is the ultimate survivor, and her trials and triumphs will electrify Broadway audiences when The Cher Show arrives at the Neil Simon Theatre November 1. Here’s a look back at Cher’s six decades of stardom, with commentary by the new musical’s book writer, three-time Tony-nominee Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), and its director, Tony-nominee Jason Moore (Avenue Q and the hit movie Pitch Perfect).
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For six straight decades, only one unstoppable force has flat-out dominated popular culture — breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries, and letting nothing and no one stand in her way.
The Cher Show is her story, and it’s packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to play her: The kid starting out, the glam pop star and the icon. The Cher Show is 35 smash hits, six decades of stardom, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy, and enough Bob Mackie gowns to cause a sequins shortage in New York City, all in one unabashedly fabulous new musical.
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