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Broadway To BURLESQUE: A Cher Special

This week, we are taking a special retrospective look at some clips from Cher's many musical performances over the years, including her fabulous take on Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs To Daddy" from the 1982 Tony Awards and an exhaustive series of sequences from Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's WEST SIDE STORY sourced from a 1978 CBS television special event. Additionally, we have a sneak peak at her return to the silver screen - in an original movie musical co-starring Christina Aguilera no less - with a look at Thanksgiving's hotly anticipated star showcase BURLESQUE. Plus, some super special surprises - one co-starring none other than Raquel Welch - along the star-studded way!

Our Hearts Belong To Cher

From straight comedy comedienne ala Carol Burnett and company to musical comedy queen ala Cole Porter show tunes on the Tony Awards, this is just a tiny taste of the versatile and voluminous talent that Cher possesses. The sheer amount of her work - much of it available on video on You Tube - in her nearly fifty years in show business is enough to leave one befuddled and bewildered - she has seriously done it all. Everything. Plus, she has that Academy Award for MOONSTRUCK to prove it. If you have not seen her performances in Mike Nichol's stunning SILKWOOD or Robert Altman's stage-to-screen transfer of the Broadway hit COME BACK TO THE FIVE AND DIME, JIMMY DEAN, JIMMY DEAN then it is imperative to seek both out at the soonest opportunity. You will not regret it. The following clips are some of the most memorable and mesmerizing Broadway-centric moments from Cher's long and incomparable career on stages and screens - large and small - worldwide. Bringing it all up to date, we also will take a look at her most recent endeavor, an enterprise that brings together all of her very best assets and gives her the absolutely ideal place with which to showcase them. With a stage, a mic and a song from Burnett to Broadway to BURLESQUE, Cher wins our hearts again and again. See why here.

In this stupendous clip from the 1982 Tony Awards get a load of Cher in an Alaskan-themed, slightly S&M production number with some of the most riff-tastic, idiosyncratic vocals and anomalous essaying of this classic Cole Porter ditty to date. The song, of course, was perhaps most famously sung originally by that other dark-eyed Hollywood legend, Bette Davis. Their hearts may belong to daddy, but ours belong to Cher. This is merely one of the many reasons why!

Now, check out this hilarious clip from the classic seventies variety sketch mainstay THE Carol Burnett SHOW in this delightfully daffy sketch co-starring Miss Burnett herself!

Next, we have a series of clips from a 1978 CBS television special titled simply "CHER..." in which she performs an exhaustive - and positively exhausting - WEST SIDE STORY homage. Believe it or not, in this sequence Cher plays not only Anita but, virtually, the entire cast of the show! Sometimes, playing more role than one at the very same time! Talk about a one-man - or, in this case, one-woman - show! In fifteen minutes time be left dumbfounded and bemused by the BURLESQUE leading lady herself in an early show of her musical theatre sensibilities at their very best. All of them!

WEST SIDE STORY MEDLEY

"I Have A Love"
Listen to Cher's sensitive, plaintive reading of the first few phrases, almost like a church hymn in its solemnity. She lets the song build to the glorious open-throated anthem it should be in the very best way: simply. Delicacy to bombast with a blast, ever so fast. And, yes, she duets with herself at the end!

"I Feel Pretty"
Using her rarely heard head voice - soprano, it seems - see and hear Cher's take on Maria from WEST SIDE STORY with a lilting and lively version of "I Feel Pretty" as it has never quite been performed before or since.

"Somewhere"
Starting off sounding something like a spirit from the beyond - a ghostly disembodied voice - and then building to a rousing finish, capping it all off as the crowning vocal achievement of the entire WEST SIDE STORY sequence, here is perhaps the most well-loved and well-known song from the very best score in Broadway history sung as only Cher can sing it.

"Tonight (Quintet)"
Here we have Cher playing ALL of the roles in the Act One Finale sequence from WEST SIDE STORY. That's right - Tony to Anita, Maria and more. While tongue is planted firmly in cheek throughout, she is even better than you could imagine. Even if all the notes aren't there, the emotion is - and, at the end of the day (and the end of the show), that's what really counts. And this clip counts for a lot! Wow!

Since it is impossible to top all of that, we move from song to spoken word with our next clip. Watch Cher's sweet and sensitive salute to Mike Nichols at this year's AFI HONORS: Mike Nichols recalling her experiences working with the legendary director on SILKWOOD and sharing the screen with fellow Oscar nominees for the critically acclaimed hit biopic, Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell, and how they all reacted to the big news. It's not what you may expect!

As a special treat, check out this diva-licious duet with Cher and an ultra-glamous surprise guest - Raquel Welch! They cover a classic Leiber & Stoller soul song made famous on Broadway in SMOKEY JOE'S CAFÉ. See if you can guess what song it is going to be once you see the costume reveal! Sizzling.

Lastly, we have the trailer for Cher's newest vehicle, the all-star movie-musical BURLESQUE which boasts the premiere of a brand-new Diane Warren penned power balled written for and performed by Cher in the Steve Antin-directed feature film co-starring Christina Aguilera, Stanley Tucci, Kristen Bell, Alan Cumming and Eric Dane.

Be sure to stay tuned to BroadwayWorld for all the latest breaking BURLESQUE news, reviews, clips and columns in the coming weeks leading up to its release in movie theaters nationwide on November 24th!

 

Click here to visit the film's official web site

Broadway To BURLESQUE: A Cher Special

 

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Pat Cerasaro Pat Cerasaro is BroadwayWorld's Chief Interviewer and Senior Editor, contributing exclusive columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Flash Fridays as well as additional special features and extensive news coverage. His work for the site has appeared in The New York Times, US Weekly, The Biography Channel, NBC and more.