Needs Some Work: Broadway in Chicago Presents The Cher Show at The Oriental Theatre (Through July 15, 2018)

Regardless of your opinion on jukebox musicals, they are here to stay. But “The Cher Show” will need a major overhaul if it’s going to join the ranks of “Jersey Boys” and “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

 

The story is told through the flimsy set-up of Cher filming a TV special about her life. The show begins with the intro to “Believe.” The dancers fill the stage, the trap door opens and the platform rises. . . with no Cher. “Where’s Cher? Cut!” yells a man in a headset. Just minutes into the hokey premise, you’re already tired of it. It interrupts the show throughout, adding nothing. Cher’s lengthy career and fascinating life story is by no means an easy one to condense into a simple narrative, but the book suffers from trying to jam too much in. The show-within-a-show device doesn’t work to smoothly move the story along, but instead highlights the jerky pacing.

The show is told by three Chers, portraying different periods of her life. All three are excellent (and often all on stage together), but none of them truly capture Cher. On the other hand, Sonny Bono’s first appearance is greeted with energetic applause as his impression is uncanny. The two other moments that drive the crowd wild are the parade of Bob Mackie designed gowns and costumes, as well as the breath-taking choreography during “Dark Lady.” None of the three highlights of the show belong to the three Chers, but rather to Sonny, Bob Mackie and Christopher Gattelli (the choreographer) / Ashley Blair (dancer).

To clarify, the problems with the book are major, but the issues with the Chers are minor. They each have flashes of pure Cher within them. Perhaps a few quick lessons from Chad Michaels could help? But regardless, spending a night listening to Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond belt Cher’s top hits is still a night well-spent — not to mention the wonderful Emily Skinner, who plays Cher’s mother, Georgia Holt.

 

 

Plus, they even throw in “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” from Burlesque, so really — how can you complain?

Get tickets now for The Cher Show through July 15th.

Quinn Delaney

 

 

 

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