Interview: ELLA PEREZ of THE CHER SHOW at THEATRE UNDER THE STARS

We get to talk with "BABE CHER" before the show hits Houston!

By: Mar. 26, 2024
Interview: ELLA PEREZ of THE CHER SHOW at THEATRE UNDER THE STARS
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Interview: ELLA PEREZ of THE CHER SHOW at THEATRE UNDER THE STARS THE CHER SHOW is coming to Houston’s Hobby Center from April 16th through the 28th. TUTS is bringing in this phenomenal tour, and we couldn’t be more excited to see it here in H-Town. Broadway World writer Brett Cullum got a chance to talk with Ella Perez, who is one of three leading ladies taking on Cher. 

Brett Cullum: So you are playing “Babe Cher?” I got all excited because I thought they said BABY Cher! I have been waiting for this show all season long. So the first question I have to ask you is, have you ever met the real Cher?

Ella Perez: Oh, my God, not yet. I have not, and I hope one day she's gonna pop in and see it. But I always said that if she does come, no one can tell me until after the show is over. 

Brett Cullum: Yeah, that's gotta be nerve-wracking. And that's my next question: How in the heck do you play somebody who's still alive and not get nervous about it?

Ella Perez: Yeah, yeah, it's a big responsibility. I think the biggest thing I wanted to focus on was not making it like a character and not making it like some tasteless impression. Because I don't know. It's not necessarily what the show is about, and the three of us do a really good job of “a hint of Cher.” But there's still us! Our director made it clear she wanted us to be us. We're paying tribute to Cher, not necessarily pretending to be or imitating Cher. And that's what we wanted to avoid. But I did do a lot of research, watched a lot of footage, and worked on my Cher impression. Our star, Morgan Scott, had a really, really good impression off the jump. So we took a lot of things after her, listened to her all the time, and picked up on what she did. But yeah, I think we all do like a really nice little tribute to her and what she sounds like. 

Brett Cullum: In The Cher Show, there are a total of three of you who are playing Cher at different ages and at different times. I'm guessing because you're playing “Babe Cher,” looking at you and seeing how young you are. I am guessing you are playing a very early era of Cher. 

Ella Perez: Yes, I play Cher from when she's actually ten years old, up until she's about twenty. In the opening scene with me and the mom, I'm in a little side ponytail and first grade. We hear about how Cher was bullied in school because she didn't look like all the other kids in Southern California. 

Brett Cullum: So what songs do you get to sing as “Babe Cher?” 

Ella Perez: Yeah, so I get to do “Half Breed” with Lucy Werner, who plays Georgia (Cher’s mom). I get to do “I Got You, Babe” with Sonny, which is iconic, and the audience is always really, really excited for that one. It's one of my favorite moments in the show getting to sing that classic song. I do “When the Money's Gone” and “All or Nothing Now” during a big Vegas sequence! 

Yes, I get to sing a lot of the old Sonny and Cher classics, which I love, and I get a really nice big number in Act Two of “The Beat Goes On,” which takes you through Cher’s entire movie career, and how she won her Oscar for MOONSTRUCK. And that's one of my favorite numbers in the show. Yeah, I can say “Woman's World” is up there!

I don't even know if I could list it all off the top of my head. Those are just some of my favorites.

Brett Cullum: Were you a fan of Cher before you got this? 

Ella Perez: I can't say that I was like a Cher fanatic, but I obviously knew who she was, and I grew up listening to a lot of my parents' music growing up, so she was definitely sprinkled in there, so I knew more songs than I thought before I got into it. But I always knew more of who she was, as a pop culture icon and a diva. I always knew about her on Twitter and loved watching her interviews and videos because she's always been so funny and authentic. I have always really loved that about her, and then doing the show made me realize I knew more Cher songs than I thought I did.

Brett Cullum: From your biography, this is one of your first big national tours. So, how did you land this?

Ella Perez: Oh, my God, it's crazy! I graduated college in May, and I remember seeing the casting notice. It was like April or early May, and I remember I was looking through Actors Access to see different things. I could submit myself for, and I remember seeing this, and I was the right height and the right look. I thought I could sing it. I remember I loved the Broadway production! I was really into the show in 2019; it was really big. I just submitted my picture and resume. I was like, we'll see what happens if they even see it. And they did. And then they asked me for some tapes, and I had to film a pretty lengthy audition. It was three full songs for this one tape, and I didn't hear anything for a little while. Then, they had me come in four times in person in New York City for some callbacks, where I did some scenes. I did more of the same music. 

And then, a really funny story, my final day of callbacks, I did my thing. I did my dance call, my songs, and whatever. And then I went home because I knew they saw the girls in the morning and the boys in the afternoon.

I'm on my train home. I live on Long Island, so it's about a 45-minute train ride from Penn Station in Manhattan, and I am about 5 minutes away from my stop at home. And I get an email from the casting director, and she's like, Hey, can you come back in an hour and a half and learn this whole new song she had me learn. “The Beat Goes On,” which wasn't in an audition packet. And I was like, like, yeah, sure.

So I literally got off. Hopped back on another train in the opposite direction back to New York. I spent the whole train ride learning the song and looking at the music, and it was really freaky. I've never had anything like that happen to me before. And then I went in, and it was just me in the holding room because all the boys were in there, and it was just me. It was really scary. I was the last person they saw that day, and they had me sing all the material, do all the sides, and then the new song.

I found out I got the job from my agents a couple of days later. I got a phone call. I woke up from a nap to this phone call. And I was like, “Heeeellllllooooo?” It was crazy. I couldn't believe it. 

I had no idea, and I thought there was no way I was gonna book a leading role in the National tour right out of school. I thought I was out of my mind.

And yet, here we are. For some reason.

Brett Cullum:  I have to ask, what's it like touring with this cast?  

Ella Perez: Oh, my gosh! This cast, I have to say, is just full of the most incredible people that I've ever met. And do we have fun? We have lots of fun, and you know, we have some really long, hard days sometimes where we'll have like a one night, or we wake up at 9 in the morning and have to drive to a new city and do a show that night, and then leave again to go somewhere else in the morning, and, those days, can get hard and really exhausting. 

I think we have such a strong family bond, and even on hard days, we still have fun. And we're always very supportive of each other. And if someone needs to take a night off or someone needs to call out like, we're always like, okay, we're gonna support this understudy that's gonna come on this swing that's gonna swing on tonight. And we're gonna get through this together. And it's it's really, really fun. It's so exciting. And we always try to make sure that we all have time to explore the cities together and go out after shows, and this cast is just really, really special. I can honestly say that every single person in this cast is an amazing person, and we all get along so well, which makes this really hard job just that much easier. And I'm very thankful for that.

Brett Cullum: What's after this?

Ella Perez: We are very lucky that the tour got extended for another year, and as of right now, I am going to be on that second-year tour because I don't think I'm finished with this show quite yet.

My dream is to originate a role in a musical, which is everything I could ever want. This opportunity is really exciting for me to get my foot in the door and get myself seen by more people. Cause I'm still actively taping and auditioning for stuff even while I'm working. And that would be incredible if something like that came along. And I got to create my own role and a brand-new piece of work. And have it go farther to a big regional theater. And then, Broadway. I want to record a cast recording so bad! 

Interview: ELLA PEREZ of THE CHER SHOW at THEATRE UNDER THE STARS

THE CHER SHOW will be at the HOBBY CENTER from April 16th through April 28th. The performance lasts approximately two hours and forty minutes with one intermission. Tickets are available through the link below or by contacting the TUTS box office at (713) 558-8887. Note that most weeknight shows start at 7:30 pm, weekend shows start at 8:00 pm, and matinees start at 2:00 pm on both Saturdays and Sundays.




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