The Cher Show, a musical based on the life and times of our favorite gay icon Cher, officially opened June 28 in Chicago at the Oriental Theater. The musical, directed by Jason Moore and featuring a book by Jersey Boys Tony Award-winner Rick Elice, arrives on Broadway November 1st at the Neil Simon Theatre prior to a December 3rd opening night.
We’ve rounded up the reviews of a few critics who got to the see show, but we’ll begin with one critical review from a surprising source: Cher herself. Never one to really censor herself or hold back her frank opinions, Cher right at the top of an interview said the show “needs work,” then quickly added, “I’m not supposed to say that, but I don’t care.”
“Some parts of it are really fabulous,” Cher says, who is one of the three executive producers on the project about her life. “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.”
While Cher may be the harshest critic of a work about herself, here’s what four critics have to say about The Cher Show.
“Block — an actress with a long and complicated Broadway history whose power and vulnerability always seem to coexist in the most fascinating way — already has figured her way into Cher. You can almost feel her wanting to burst out of the box that the show has built. Wicks, too, has all kinds of potential, and Diamond, although clearly very young and inexperienced, is a nascent talent. Still, the three women do not feel sufficiently, and collectively, in charge of their own meaning. They don’t roar as they should, as a triangle of musical women. And — given that they are playing one of the creative arts’ greatest deadpan, subversive, bump-and-grind ironists — they don’t have enough fun.” — Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“To be clear: The jukebox musical, which serves as a survey of the life of the iconic singer, works on nearly every level. There is a bit of refining still to be done by book writer Rick Elice and director Jason Moore, and a pre-Broadway tryout affords them the time and place to do just that.
“There may not have been a Cher had there not first been a Sonny & Cher. Sonny made a brand out of Cher, but she was born a powerhouse. The Cher Show reminds us why America fell in love with the dynamic duo. And why so many will always believe in Cher.” — Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun Times
“Of course, The Cher Show succeeds most profoundly because it is dazzling — both visually and in terms of the three women who finesse the lead role. Christine Jones and Brett J. Banakis’s scenic design and Kevin Adams’s lighting design are fittingly decadent, but it is Bob Mackie’s fashion parade of jaw-dropping costumes that steal the show. Mackie pulls out all the stops (and also appears as a character in the show, essayed by Michael Berresse). Cher’s wardrobe contains wonder after wonder, in a neon bright array of colors and exquisite details — and a ton of sequins.” — Rachel Weinberg, Broadway World
“The new jukebox bio-musical The Cher Show captures a good amount of the vibrant personality and genuinely admirable perseverance that make Cher the ultimate celebrity survivor. But like Cher herself, the show careens from career to career without a consistent thrust other than awesome attitude. In its pre-Broadway version premiering in Chicago, The Cher Show sings but doesn’t soar, and seems likely to appeal primarily to the most adoring of her admittedly enormous fan base, suggesting a commercial trajectory more in line with ‘On Your Feet’ than ‘Beautiful.'” — Steven Oxman, Variety