The Today Show recently went behind the scenes of Broadway’s latest bio musical The Cher Show. It turns out the story of the megastar’s life and career, written by Jersey Boys scribe Rick Elice, is one wild ride that has audiences on their feet.
“I think it's because the audience has invested in the story of Cher; they've seen the whole rollercoaster of her life the ups and downs,” Stephanie J. Block, one of three actors playing the titular role, told Today. The new production is in performances at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre and officially opens December 3.
Block shares the stage with two younger selves in Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond. “We call it 'Cherapy' because it is one woman, but she gets to talk to her younger selves as we would do: "Why did you do that? What did we learn from that?'” Block explains.
“We're trying to honor her and celebrate her and be interpreters of her story and her spirit and her heart and bring that to life onstage,” said Wicks.
Of course, the three ladies had a lot of work to do to get those interpretations just right. Diamond pored over hours of YouTube videos, concert tapes, albums, and more. “It's overwhelming how much footage there is of her,” she said.
But Block found her Cher voice apart from any research. “I found my Cher voice through Crest white strips. I'm not kidding,” she said. “I was bleaching my teeth one day and I was reading my lines, and all of a sudden I just started saying everything like this and my husband [fellow Broadway favorite Sebastian Arcelus] goes, ‘You found it.’”
Cher has seen the show numerous times to give notes and take in the spectacle. “She takes her work very seriously but she doesn't take life seriously,” says Wicks, “and it allows her to be so funny and witty and smart and open.”
The Cher Show plays at the Neil Simon Theatre (250 W 52nd Street between Broadway and Eighth Avenue) in an open-ended run, with previews from November 1 and an opening night set for December 3.