Monday, July 22, 2024

The Cher Show Closed on Broadway, But It’s Alive and Well on 73 Year Old Superstar’s Arena Tour


The Cher Show was not a hit on Broadway. It closed after a few months, never finding an audience that could sustain its budget. And this all happened just in the last year. Less. Indeed, “The Cher Show” opened on Broadway exactly one year ago– December 3, 2018– and closed in August.

So where was Cher on the anniversary of her Broadway show’s opening? On stage. Where else? The 73 year old singer– she proudly announced her age last night– was at Madison Square Garden, putting on her Las Vegas act to a sold out arena for the second night in a row. No kidding. Apparently her fans weren’t interested in the Broadway version of her — even though Stephanie J. Block won Best Actress in Musical for her efforts. They just want the real thing.

And that’s what they got. Cher up close, personal, gossips with the crowd after her first two splashy, colorful numbers. She tells a long story about Jack Nicholson and George Miller, the director of “The Witches of Eastwick,” telling her at 40 that she’s not sexy and they don’t want her for their movie. It’s a long anecdote, and she forgets to add the kicker: she got the part anyway.

At 73, Cher still looks stunning, has the toned body of a 40 year old, and her whiskey-rum drenched voice sounds better than ever. (I’m assuming it’s all hers, with no additives.) Just as she was on “The Sonny and Cher Show” in the early 70s, she’s funny, acerbic, and knows how to play her audience. There is no mention of politics– Cher is a vociferous anti-Trumper on Twitter. After all, the lady who sat behind me was 77 from Columbus, Ohio. She announced during the break from the great opening act, Nile Rodgers and Chic, that she had a license to carry a concealed weapon. She was absolutely voting for Trump.

Cher’s show is definitely from Vegas, full of busy dancers wearing Bob Mackie costumes. The frantic dancing, very a la 1972 CBS variety sketch hour, distracts from the star’s basic lack of movement. She glides gracefully without doing the heavy lifting. After all, she is 73, and even this nightly performance of two hours is enough to do in someone a lot younger.

She does not sing all her hits. Missing are “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” and all those fun 70s hits like “Half Breed” and “Dark Lady.” Instead, there’s a lot of filler, a great deal of which you could live without. The best number of the night is the finale. “If I Could Turn Back Time.” And then, the encore, “Believe,” an auto Tune fest of a hit.

One weird passage is an oldies section in which Cher sings with her dead ex husband, Sonny Bono, on “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On.” Sonny appears as a disembodied hit floating above the stage, hovering over Cher some 22 years after his death on the ski slopes. It reminded me of Dorothy going to see the great Oz. It’s quite creepy.

I did come for Nile Rodgers, and you will not be disappointed in his opening act. I dare say, it’s the saving grace of the night. Nile is a national treasure. Writer/producer/musician, the creator of the disco band Chic puts on an hour long show that’s full of life and brimming with love and good wishes. A cancer survivor (twice) Rodgers features Chic’s hits from the 70s as well as all those hits he wrote or produced like “Let’s Dance,” “Upside Down,” and “We Are Family.” The latter remains the most buoyant party starter ever. Everyone in my section was up and twirling, clapping along and smiling broad smiles. You can’t do better than that.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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