Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946 to Georgia Holt and John Sarkisian, also carries the names La Piere (step dad) Bono (husband) Allman (husband). Theater audiences will understand that those names are important in her life when they see “The Cher Show,” a new musical now at the Oriental Theatre.
Sarkisian left after she was born but his genes gave Cher her distinctive coloring and facial features. Her mom was fair skinned and blond.
Sonny Bono gave Cher stage presence and love when she was a teenager, several of her songs, son Chaz Bono and pushed her into television. Gregg Allman gave her companionship and unconditional love and son Elijah blue.
However, what audiences learn as “The Cher Show” plays out in its pre-Broadway tryout, is that mom was always there for her, that Bono, while married to Cher, totally took charge of her career, made a lot of money from it and left her with nothing. They also learn that she had a rocky marriage to Allman, a famed singer, song-writer, musician.
Stephanie J. Block (“Falsettos,” ” Wicked”), Teal Wicks (“Wicked,” “Finding Neverland”), and Micaela Diamond (NBC’s recent “Jesus Christ Superstar”) are all currently in Chicago.
So are Jarrod Spector (“Beautiful, “Jersey Boys”), Michael Berresse (“Kiss Me Kate;” “A Chorus Line”), Michael Campavno, (“Wicked”) Matthew Hydzik (“It Shoulda Been You,” “Side Show”) and Emily Skinner (“Prince of Broadway” “Side Show”).
They are in town for their new starring roles in “The Cher Show,” a new musical by producers Jeffrey Seller and Flody Suarez who want to try out the show on Chicago audiences before taking it to Broadway.
As Seller explained during a recent press conference, presenting a show in Chicago to work out kinks before its Broadway debut “is a repetitive and great tradition for the past 10 plus years.”
(Audiences may remember that “Pretty Woman” was just here for its pre-Broadway premiere and “Kinky Boots” was here in 2012 before going to Broadway in 2013)
After introducing Suarez and commenting that he was recently in Chicago to talk about the Hamilton Exhibition (going up this fall), Seller, producer of the block-buster “Hamilton,” said he was hopeful that the “The Cher Show” will “move people, affect people and delight people.”
A “jukebox musical” with a book by “Jersey Boys” Tony, Grammy and Oliver Award winner Rick Elice, the creative staff is no less star-studded.
What would a show about Cher be without Emmy Award winning costume designer Bob Mackie? He is not only on the team but his role in Cher’s life is played by by Tony nominee Michael Berresse.
Also on the team are Tony Award winner set designer Christine Jones (“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” “American Idiot”), sound designer Nevin Steinberg (“Hamilton,” “Dear Evan Hansen”) Tony Award lighting designer Kevin Adams (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch”) video designer Darrel Maloney (“On Your Feet”), and set designer Brett J. Banakis.
Block, Wicks and Diamond are playing Cher, an iconic pop star, rock star, Grammy Oscar, Golden Glove and Emmy winner with so many facets that each actress takes on a different part of her life.
As to the rest of the stars, Spector is Sonny Bono, Campavno is Rob Camilletti, Hydzik is Gregg Allman and Skinner is Georgia Holt.
Of course the musical will feature such hits as “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Believe” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.”
“The Cher Show” will be at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago, June 12 through July 15. 2018. It moves to Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre for previews Nov. 1 and officially opens there Dec. 3, 2018. For other information visit BroadwayInChicago.