Oscar E Moore

From the rear mezzanine theatre, movies and moore

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December 12th, 2018 by Oscar E Moore

Déjà vu – a feeling of having already experienced the present situation, best describes this cursory, surreal, Reader’s Digest condensation, “This Is Your Life” Las Vegas type extravaganza aptly named THE CHER SHOW now on view for all Cher’s adoring fans and then some at the Neil Simon Theatre where it most probably will run till the last of her fans departs this earth.

There’s only one true CHER and she is not on stage.  Like the brooms in Disney’s The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Cher clones are in abundance in this fantasia of her life as scripted by Rick Elice.  It takes a trio of gifted and talented actresses to narrate and star in Cher’s edited life in this kaleidoscopic Wikipedia version.

From a shy Armenian oddball named Cherilyn Sarkisian born in El Centro California to “a goddamn goddess warrior” the beat goes on and on and on.  Cher is like the Energizer Bunny.  At age 72 she keeps going and going and going.  At least she is not a hologram.  Yet.

She is blessed with having Stephanie J. Block as Star, Teal Wicks as Lady and Micaela Diamond as Babe representing the three ages of Cher somewhat like Albee’s THREE TALL WOMEN.  They speak with each other, make jokes.  They have her swagger and hair toss down pat.  They sing with that throaty timbre and have the attitude that seems to have come naturally to Cher.  They are wonderfully entertaining.  In addition there is another Cher – a great dancing Cher (Dark Lady – Ashley Blair Fitzgerald) who gives our trio a bit of a rest.

In quick succession Cher’s life flashes before our eyes not giving us enough time to take it all in or for the numerous (too many to count) musical numbers shoehorned into the narrative.

At 16 she meets Sonny Bono (a charmless Jarrod Spector; the butt of many short jokes) age 28.  He promises her the world – within two years – and they team up.

We learn she is a Taurus (no surprise!) and that she has trouble reading.  “Just sign this,” Sonny orders and she does.  She is afraid and not very confident despite her mom’s advice to her that “the song makes you strong” repeating this mantra often during the two and a half hours (one intermission) production.

Ms. Skinner holds her own as Georgia Holt, Cher’s mom.  A confident beauty with a wry sense of humor.  She also appears as Lucille Ball who advises her to “take charge of her life” in a bizarre scene.  Following Ball’s advice she is one of the three above the title producers of this musical memoir about empowerment and ego.

We also meet Gregg Allman (Matthew Hydzik) husband number two and Rob Camilletti (Bagel Bob).  He 23 to her age 40.  There are ups and downs and a brief unexplained sickness and her babies Chaz and Elijah, tax problems, fear problems, money problems, poor me problems, not enough time problems (after becoming rich for the moment it seems) and feeling alone problems and a slew of montages.  Her Oscar.  Her unemployment.  Her hairspray infomercial. Et al.

But she keeps going on and on and on in this fast paced and much too loud show directed by Jason Moore and choreographed by Christopher Gattelli with a chorus of hunky and handsome bare chested men showing more navel than the belly button incident made famous by Cher on CBS.  It kind of wears you down and into submission.

Before I end this review of a revue there is another star in this show.  And that is Bob Mackie’s costumes.  Mackie is portrayed by Michael Berresse.  Some of the infamous costumes we have seen before.  They are still magnificent.  Backstage must be something with so many costume changes.

Davy, a friend, summed up THE CHER SHOW succinctly as we left.  “Well, it’s cheaper than going to Vegas.”  I have to agree.


Photos:  Joan Marcus

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