How does Cher feel about The Cher Show, the jukebox musical about her life? "It needs work."
At least, that’s what the 72-year-old told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday after seeing a trial run of the Broadway-bound show over the weekend at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre.
“I’m not supposed to say that but I don’t care,” the Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again star said. “Some parts of it are really fabulous. We’re going to work on the other parts. In many parts, it was much, much better than I thought it would be. And there were no parts where I wanted to gouge my eyes out.”
“Some times, I was having a blast. Some times, my mind was wandering,” she added. “I think those are the parts that are going to get better.”
The Cher Show chronicles the life of the Grammy-winning singer and Oscar-winning actress, set to a score of her hits including “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “If I Could Turn Back Time,” and “Believe.”
The musical comes from book writer Rick Elice (Jersey Boys), with direction by Jason Moore (Avenue Q) and choreography by from Christopher Gattelli (Newsies). In addition to featuring as a character in the musical, the real-life Bob Mackie is designing the costumes.
Three actresses play Cher at different points in her life: Tony nominee Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos), Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland), and newcomer Micaela Diamond — who will make her Broadway debut with the role.
“I think it’s a story of struggle,” Cher said, summing up the plot in the Tribune. “I was resilient. There were no other options for me. There was nothing else for me to do. I had to put my big-girl G-string on and go for it. From the time I was little, it was never easy for me.”
“They focus a lot on the key men in my life: Sonny [Bono], Gregg [Allman], Robert [Camilletti]. They talk about the films. About Sonny and me losing everything and then having to go out and work all these terrible places. About my leaving Sonny, my moving to New York and going to Broadway in 1982,” she added. “I was really very surprised by how close to real these people feel. Some of the boys are so on the mark, it’s creepy.”
Cher continued: “The girls who play me have so much to do. … They’re often performing together. They sing and talk to each other. Babe (Micaela Diamond) is me when I met Sonny when I was 16. Lady (Teal Wicks) comes out with the TV show. Star (Stephanie J. Block) takes us to ‘Believe.’ … The lady who plays my mom is great. That’s a very important part. It starts the whole tenor of the project: How my mom treated me as a child. That is why I am how I am who I am now.”
Cher saw three shows at the Oriental Theatre over the weekend, sitting next to Moore. She said she gave him notes throughout.
“I tell him things,” Cher explained. “My brain is going so fast as I try to glean all the nuances. There are lines in the show that sound like quotes but aren’t quite right. I’ve been telling him the real quotes. I have a lot to say. And I am pushing them to do three dance songs in a concert-style way at the end, a bit like they do in Mamma Mia. I think the audience would like that.”
“I think in some places it’s really good, and I am the most critical person who ever drew breath. If they can impress me, they’re doing good,” Cher said.
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As for the messier parts of Cher’s life, she said she doesn’t want the musical to run away from that.
“I think I’m honest,” Cher revealed. “My life is 72 years. My career is 53 years. So the show has to skip all over the place. I am actually pushing them to be more truthful about me. I’ve already said so much about my life. It would be silly for them to come up with a Mother Teresa.”
Performances for the show’s Chicago premiere will take place through July 15, ahead of a transfer to Broadway. Previews at the Neil Simon Theatre begin Nov. 1 with opening night scheduled for Dec. 3.
More information on the musical can be found at TheCherShowBroadway.com.