New musical The Cher Show will turn back time at Milton Keynes Theatre this summer to celebrate the ultimate empowered woman.
Cher (born Cherilyn Sarkisian on 20 May 1946 in El Centro, California) is a globally adored entertainer who has been releasing hits and reinventing herself since the 1960s. “Goddess of Pop” turned Hollywood royalty, she is known for selling more than 100 million records, winning all the awards going and remaining both eternally relevant and unapologetically herself.
The Cher Show tells the incredible story of her life and career, using songs that she performed throughout six decades of stardom. Theatregoers can expect to get to know Cher, the shy daughter of an Armenian-American truck driver, as she recalls how she stood up to the men who underestimated her, defied conventions and forged her own path.
The production features 35 of Cher’s biggest hits, including ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’ (1989), ‘Strong Enough’ (1998), ‘Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves’ (1971), ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’ (1990), ‘I Got You Babe’ (1965) and ‘Believe’ (1998). Bopping in your seat and lip-synching as you read the song titles? You are not alone – a sensational soundtrack awaits us!
The Cher Show is a jukebox musical written by Rick Elice (co-writer of Jersey Boys) that made its debut on Broadway in 2018, earning two Tony awards.
This new touring production marks the European premiere of The Cher Show. Directed by Arlene Phillips (Grease, Starlight Express) and choreographed by Oti Mabuse (double Strictly Come Dancing winner) it promises a fresh take on Cher’s eye-catching outfits thanks to costume design by Gabriella Slade (Spice World 2019 Tour, Six).
The deep-voiced diva is so famous that we all know her by one name, but there are three Chers in the show: one for each distinct phase of her life. There is one in the 1950s and 60s (nicknamed “Babe”), one in the 1970s (“Lady”) and one in the 1980s and 90s (“Star”).
Consequently, three West End performers portray Cher. Millie O’Connell (Six, Rent) plays Babe, Danielle Steers (Bat Out of Hell, Six) plays Lady and Debbie Kurup (Prince of Egypt, The Bodyguard) plays Star. Having a trio work together to honour a legend certainly brings new meaning to the theatrical term “a triple threat”.
With her genre-hopping music, bold costumes and philanthropic initiatives, Cher has influenced popular culture more than most. The Cher Show is devised as an opportunity to rediscover an icon – a chance to share the love for Cher.
*Production photography by Pamela Raith.
*Promotional photography by Matt Crockett.
This preview is also featured on Total MK.
Update 10 August 2022: Read my review of The Cher Show at Milton Keynes Theatre.
Georgina Butler is an editor, a dance writer and a ballet teacher.