‘The Cher Show’ sparkles in technical run at Walton Arts Center

Morgan Scott as Star in THE CHER SHOW. Photo by Meredith Mashburn Photography
Morgan Scott as Star in THE CHER SHOW. Photo by Meredith Mashburn Photography

Four hundred creations by the legendary fashion designer Bob Mackie appear in "The Cher Show." Can you imagine being so fabulous?

Technical rehearsals for "The Cher Show," the Tony Award-winning musical based on the life of Cher so far, are going on at the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville. There's one more performance at 7 p.m. Nov. 21 before all those sequins and feathers go on the road with the incredibly talented cast and crew.

Three actresses play the diva as the "Babe," "Star" and "Lady" as Cher quickly grows up, becomes a star alongside Sonny Bono and then becomes a lady as she breaks away from Gregg Allman and endures the ups and downs of fame and losing her fortune and then earning it back again.

Ella Perez exudes youthful innocence throughout her many roles, while Catherine Ariale shines with Cher's quick humor and presence and Morgan Scott portrays the self-assured icon with just enough humor to balance the character.

Aside from a couple of bad microphone connections, you wouldn't know that this show hadn't been on the road all along, especially when you consider the montage of Bob Mackie gowns that Cher wore over her career -- including a sparkly Native American headdress and loin cloth -- alongside many of the different costumes that she wore on "The Sonny and Cher Show."

The story focuses heavily on her relationship with Bono and even covers his death in 1998 with her one-liner: "How short was that tree?" Lorenzo Pugliese brings a charming gravity to the goofy Bono. He's very swoon worthy and then harsh enough to make his character complicated rather than one-sided.

The most enjoyable part for me was learning little tidbits, like Cher sang back up on "Be My Baby" and got incredibly succinct divorce advice from Lucille Ball. I also didn't know that she was on Broadway before this musical, and quite enjoyed her wisecracks about Popeye to Robert Altman.

Fans of Cher will love the musical. Before the final bow last night, the crowd was up and dancing along singing "Believe" with all three versions of Cher. Overall, "The Cher Show" is fantastical and over the top, much like the 77-year-old diva herself.



'The Cher Show'

WHEN -- 7 p.m. Nov. 21

WHERE -- Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST -- $35-$75

INFO -- waltonartscenter.org, 443-5600

BONUS -- A show-themed cocktail class is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets are $39, and you must be 21 or older to participate.

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