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Review Roundup: Do the Critics 'Believe' in THE CHER SHOW in Chicago?

Review Roundup: Do the Critics 'Believe' in THE CHER SHOW in Chicago?

The Cher Show took its opening night bows in Chicago last night, June 28.

Check out photos of the cast's opening night bows here!

Superstars come and go. Cher is forever. For six straight decades, only one unstoppable force has flat-out dominated popular culture - breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries, and letting nothing and no one stand in her way. The Cher Show is her story, and it's packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to play her: The kid starting out, the glam pop star and the icon. The Cher Showis 35 smash hits, six decades of stardom, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy, and enough Bob Mackie gowns to cause a sequins shortage in New York City, all in one unabashedly fabulous new musical.

The Cher Show stars Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland), and Micaela Diamond( Broadway debut) in the role of the iconic singer and actress at various times in her life and career. They will be joined by Tony Award nominee Jarrod Spector (Beautiful, Jersey Boys) as Sonny Bono, Tony Award nominee Michael Berresse(Kiss Me, Kate; A Chorus Line) as Bob Mackie, Michael Campayno (Wicked) as Rob Camilletti, Matthew Hydzik(West Side Story, Side Show) as Gregg Allman, Tony Award nominee Emily Skinner(Prince of Broadway, Side Show) as Georgia Holt, and Dee Roscioli(Wicked, Fiddler on the Roof) as the Standby for Star and Lady.

Let's see what the critics are saying...

Rachel Weinberg, BroadwayWorld: 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.

Steven Oxman, Variety: The real star of the show, though, turns out not to be the stars of the show, nor the music, but Bob Mackie's costumes (he is both the show's designer and a character), many simply the fantastic fashions he created for Cher throughout her career. They inject needed drama and flash and performative excitement, and generate by far the biggest audience reaction when carefully revealed by director Jason Moore.

Deborah Wilker, The Hollywood Reporter: Terrific casting, marvelous costumes (it's Bob Mackie after all, not just behind-the-scenes but portrayed onstage, fabulously by Michael Berresse), delightfully retro dance numbers from choreographer Christopher Gattelli and of course a bursting catalog more than 50 hits deep - from "The Beat Goes On" to "If I Could Turn Back Time" and latter-day anthems like "Strong Enough" - all go a very long way.

But this earnest work-in-progress also feels both long in places and rushed in others. And the chief framing device, a show within the taping of a TV show, is sometimes confusing, and not really needed. What is needed is more of what makes this legend, now 72, unique.

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune: 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.

Miriam Di Nunzio, Chicago Sun Times: What emerges from "The Cher Show" is the portrait of an artist - from an insecure teenager who started her career worshipping at the feet of Sonny Bono, to one who gradually and out of necessity emerged as a fiercely independent and strong woman, who realized she was and is second to none. Cher may have sung "All I Ever Need Is You" alongside her beloved "Son," but truth is, she had all she needed to succeed, deep down inside her. 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.

Alan Bresloff, Around The Town Chicago: From the get-go, her desire was to be someone, despite her lack of education or ability to read. Her mother (Emily Skinner) always led her to believe that she could be anything she wanted to be ( or so we are told) and in this story, she does become just that. In fact, I am sure that while she was in town she made suggestions as to how she should be portrayed. Why not? After all, she is loved and adored by all ages and is "Cher". The set (Christian Jones & Brett J. Banakis) is glitzy and yet simple, never distracting from the star (s). I loved the projections and the feeling that we were indeed eavesdropping on the making of the documentary ( Derrel Maloney) and of course, the amazing costumes were by Bob Mackie ( who else?).

Lauren Katz, Picture This Post: The ballads are sensational, but the upbeat numbers offer exciting opportunities to show off Gattelli's striking work. Dark Ladyappears in Act Two when Sonny and her second husband, Gregg Allman (Matthew Hydzik) face off with a duet. As the two powerhouse vocalists sing it out, a woman dressed in black lace enters the stage and with her commanding stage presence, dances amongst a group of male dancers. Gattelli utilizes lifts and couples-choreography that add stunning life to this number that is entirely about power.

Striking design and jaw-dropping vocalists make The Cher Show a night to remember, and a blast from start to finish. From looking around at the audience dancing at their seats by the end of curtain call, this writer thinks that she may not be alone in her opinion.

Jodie Jacobs, Chicago Theater and Arts: As expected, costumes for The Cher Show are spectacular. Well, they were designed by the real Bob Mackie.

Also looking pop and rock concert good are Christine Jones' set, Darrel Maloney's videos and Keven Adams' lighting. Christopher Gattelli's choreography adds splash to the pop dance songs and Nevin Steinberg's fine sound design pulls it all together.

Directed by Jason Moore the show is almost ready for Broadway. That is almost because the beginning and ending appear a bit confused and weak.

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