Rest assured Cher fans, one of the star's signature mannerisms -- the hair flip -- appears in all its incarnations in the new Broadway-bound musical "The Cher Show" beginning previews Tuesday, June 12, at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.
Broadway veterans Stephanie J. Block and Teal Wicks and newcomer Micaela Diamond play the singer, actress and pop-culture icon at different stages in her life. Diamond is the "Babe," Wicks is the "Lady" and Block is the "Star" in this jukebox tuner, which chronicles Cher's life and career.
And she's had quite a career -- extending more than 60 years and including hit TV shows, chart-busting concert tours, movies, a stint on Broadway and a three-year Las Vegas residency, along with Oscar, Emmy and Grammy Awards and a permanent place in fashion's pantheon.
All three leads insist they will not impersonate the star, although they faithfully re-create "Cher-isms" including the aforementioned flip (one- and two-handed), the smirk and the swagger during the bio-musical.
"She has so many different versions of her life," said Wicks.
"We're trying to find the essence of who she is at her core ... how she walks through life."
Block described Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere Bono Allman as a trailblazer who "paves the way" then dares everyone else to follow.
The musical features the songs "I Got You Babe," "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Believe" among others and a book by Tony Award-winner Rick Elice ("Jersey Boys"). After its Chicago run, the show will preview in New York City on Nov. 1 and open Dec. 3 at Broadway's Neil Simon Theatre.
Cher herself spearheaded the production when she called Elice and asked if he would write a show about her life. Initially Elice demurred, "playing hard to get" as his parents instructed. Visiting her home and getting to know her convinced Elice to take on the challenge.
"She's not like anyone else I've ever met," he said.
The musical examines the person behind the larger-than-life celebrity.
"We're seeing the woman," Elice said. "We're taking the audience behind the curtain."
Working with Elice is the Tony-winning team of director Jason Moore, music director Daryl Waters and choreographer Christopher Gattelli.
Also on board is costume designer Bob Mackie, the man responsible for some of the star's most glamorous and outrageous gowns, which will appear in the musical. Mackie is also a character.
"She liked getting dressed up. She still does," said Mackie who has known the singer/actress since she was 21.
"She has that charisma," Mackie said, "that amazing glamour."
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"The Cher Show"
Location: The Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago, (800) 775-2000 or broadwayinchicago.com
Showtimes: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Sunday; through July 15