Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-09-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Catey Sullivan

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Playwright: Rick Elice ( book ), Lyricist: Daryl Waters ( orchestrations, arrangements, musical supervision )

At: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. Tickets:; $35-$115 . Runs through: July 28

For many of us of a certain age, Sonny and Cher's 1967 hit "The Beat Goes On" was a formative experience: A piece of pop culture that provided an ethos to live by and an unforgettable sound. You could say the same about Cher herself.

Nobody—with all due respect to Chad Michaels—can fully embody Cher, nee Cherilyn Sarkisian. But the Broadway-bound The Cher Show ( book by Rick Elice, directed by Jason Moore, musical arrangements by Daryl Waters ) is an eye-popping ode to the Oscar/Grammy/Emmy-winning iconoclast.

With close to three dozen songs packed into the score, it's inevitable ( if frustrating ) that the likes of "Dark Lady" and "Half Breed" are abridged; ditto Cher's epic journey from bullied schoolchild to global brand. Still, The Cher Show captures the unapologetic Cher-ness of the title character's persona, showing how she repeatedly broke the mold for leading ladies.

Starting out with young Cher tricycling to her mother after being called a "half-breed" at school and ending with a Vegas-worthy rendition of "Believe," The Cher Show is slavishly entertaining. And thanks to costume designer Bob Mackie ( yes, that Bob Mackie ), Cher's iconic looks are jaw-dropping. That 1986 Oscar frock is replicated with fantabulous detail. So are the various "naked dress" gowns that Cher pioneered generations before Sex and the City slapped them on on bus ads.

Elice hasn't yet found a solid dramatic arc for The Cher Show. She was a star by 21. Her post-stardom valleys and troughs are somewhat glossed over—but, then again, that gloss is pretty spectacular.

The show belongs to three Ages of Cher, embodied by Stephanie J. Block ( as Star, or present-day Cher ); Teal Wicks ( Lady, mid-career Cher ) and Micaela Diamond ( Babe, early Cher ). All three interact, providing retrospective insight while highlighting the highs and lows of Cher's half-century-plus long career. Babe is the wide-eyed, unstoppable kid with dreams. Lady is a woman in command of her powers. And Star is a woman in full, showing the planet how to werk before "werk" was even a thing.

Setting the show within the framework of a variety show is a smart move. Cher entered the nation's living rooms in 1971 with The Sonny and Cher Comedy Show. She was decidedly not our parents' variety-show host. Dinah Shore who? Andy Williams what? If you can recall Elton John and Cher burning through the small screen with "Bennie and the Jets," you can probably summon some irrational exuberance just by unlocking the memory.

Under Moore's direction, the Chers deliver her signature sarcasm, take-no-shit assertiveness, razor-sharp intelligence and iconic hair flips—as well as her struggle to be taken seriously as an actor and business woman. Her fraught relationship with Sonny ( Jarrod Spector ) sours when—as Cher points out—she's left with only a car to show after over a decade under Sonny's Bonaparte-esque micromanagement.

The complexity of Cher's relationship with a man who loved her and wanted to control her is apparent. So is her flat-out refusal to be controlled.

All three Chers have powerhouse voices, and capture the deep alto belt that flew in the face of the conventional blonde soprano stars who preceded Cher. The music is pure catnip, as is Christopher Gattelli's choreography. In "Dark Lady," we get a number so kinetically dazzling you'll be irked if you blink.

The show's strengths are fourfold: Its music, costumes, choreography and its allegiance to Cher. Kudos to wig designer Charles G. LaPointe for nailing the star's evolving locks. Christine Jones and Brett J. Banakis' scenic design evokes of the TV variety show that provides the story's framework.

The Cher Show hasn't figured out how to deal with those Native American war bonnets Cher favored in her earlier years, long before the ills of cultural appropriation were even widely acknowledged. And Elice's book needs a more substantial dramatic arc. Allman's drug abuse, Sonny's manipulation are noted and dispensed with in short order. Cher fans probably won't care. And everybody else will probably be carried away by the sheer, joyful force of the spectacle.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans singer, Viola Davis, Jim Parsons, 'Wicked' 2018-09-18 - Filipino pop star Jake Zyrus—formerly known as Charice when he was on the TV show Glee—has released "Diamond," marking his first English-language crossover ...

Gay News

Broadway in Chicago season tickets open soon, include off-season specials 2018-09-18 - CHICAGO ( Sept. 17, 2018 ) — Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce its next season will go on sale to the ...

Gay News

FALL THEATER Theater festivals and special events 2018-09-17 - In addition to the many individual shows, there are several festivals and special events that will enrich the autumn theater season. Here's a ...

Gay News

The Baton Show Lounge's Ginger Grant remembered 2018-09-17 - Entertainer Harry Hodges, a.k.a. Ginger Grant, passed away the week of Sept. 10 in Chicago. Hodges, performing under Grant's persona, was a longtime ...

Gay News

Comic Gina Yashere in Chicago Sept. 15 2018-09-12 - Gina Yashere will perform her comedy Saturday, Sept. 15, at 9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln Ave. Originally from the United ...

Gay News

Radio Golf 2018-09-12 - Playwright: August Wilson At: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. Tickets: 773-753-4472;; $50-$74. Runs through: Sept. 30 I've always viewed ...

Gay News

Homos, or Everybody in America 2018-09-12 - Playwright: Jordan Seavey At: Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Broadway, 4137 N. Broadway. Tickets: $25-$30;; 773-857-0222. Runs through: Sept. ...

Gay News

Nick and Zoe 2018-09-12 - Author: Daniel Talbott At: McKaw Theater, 1439 W. Jarvis Ave. Tickets:, $15-20 . Runs through: Sept. 29 Radical truth is ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-09-12 - Haymarket, Underscore Theatre @ Theater Wit, closes Sept. 16!. Sounds folkloric, but it's a sophisticated score that offers a wives' view of Chicago's ...

Gay News

Six Degrees of Separation 2018-09-12 - Playwright: John Guare At: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. Tickets: 773-728-7529;; $35-$40. Runs through: Oct. 7 Before it ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.