Sunday November 18 7:29 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

"The Cher Show" Dazzles!

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Speaking of Cher, three brilliant actresses play the songstress: Stephanie J. Block is Cher, the stunning and very successful diva; Micaela Diamond is Cher, the star of TV, stage and cinema; and Teal Wicks is the young, vulnerable Cher. Although all three have great voices, I thought Diamond was best able to duplicate Cher’s unique sound. I’ve seen more than one jukebox musical in which different actors play the star at different ages, but this is the first in which all three are onstage at the same time. In fact, the three Chers, wearing subtle variations of the same costume, frequently meet onstage to talk, reminisce, laugh or sing together.

Cherilyn Sarkisian grew up in El Centro, California. Her Armenian-American father and her mother, Georgia Holt (Emily Skinner), divorced when she was 10 months old. Wicks, wearing a pinafore, rides a trike while singing like an adult. When she was 16, she dropped out of school and left home to try to get into show business. Then she met Sonny Bono (Jarrod Spector), who got her work singing backup. By the way, Spector is terrific as Sonny.

When I remember “The Sonny and Cher Show”, I remember two songs in particular, “I Got You Babe” and “The Beat Goes On”. Sonny and young Cher, wearing ‘60s bell-bottoms and fur vests, really nailed “I Got You Babe”, but the producers didn’t include “The Beat Goes On”, which was kind of the pulse of the sixties. They did include a bit of the song in Act II, but the beat was wrong.

Since Bob Mackie designed all of Cher’s costumes over the years, obviously he designed the costumes for “The Cher Show”. As Mackie, Michael Berresse prances around the stage with racks of sparkly clothes. I think he got the loudest, longest round of applause of the whole performance after his Act I song.

Speaking of sparkles, the audience was really ready for this show. In fact, there were almost as many sequins in the audience as there were on stage! I didn’t get the memo, so I felt underdressed in my normal theater clothes – nice jacket over a shell and slacks.

“The Cher Show” runs through July 15th at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, Chicago. Most reasonable parking option is the garage on Randolph between Michigan and Wabash (across from the Cultural Center) at $15. Running time is 2 hours, 40 minutes, with an intermission. Performances are Tuesdays at 7:30 pm; Wednesdays at 2:00 and 7:30 pm; Thursdays at 7:30 pm; Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 2:00 and 8:00 pm; Sundays at 2:00 & 7:30 pm (no evening performance on July 15). Tickets range from $35-$115. FYI (312) 977-1710, (800) 775-2000, www.broadwayinchicago.com or www.ticketmaster.com.