Wednesday, May 7, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: How To Fix The Cher Show

My exclusive first-look overview and impressions piece on Cher's new Vegas show, which opened last night, is on USA Today's website this morning. You can find that here. There was plenty of good here, but this show needs a LOT of work.

As it was only the first run-through of the production, it is hard to know if Cher and her director-choreographer are planning any radical changes. It clocks in at about two hours and I'm told it'll be closer to 90 when they're done with it.

If they're taking suggestions, here are four:

* Fewer costumes, more Cher. Yes, they're very pretty and fun to look at and can only be donned by this particular woman. But they also get redundant and, more importantly, they force her into constant (and probably complex) costume changes. We are baby-sat -- for $250+ a seat -- by videos that are also available on YouTube (like this one which is used wholesale) or, surely, in the DVD box set of the Sonny & Cher Show. Any show driven by style rather talent -- or any show that feels like that -- is problematic. I understand that the wardrobe swaps are time-consuming because they're not as easy as slipping something off and on, but then stay longer than one or two songs in each and give us more of the woman and her terrific, battle-scar-weary personality we came for and relate to. (Aside: If you're going to make us watch whole songs on video screens, please repair that obvious vertical tear in it. Thx.)

* Drop the knock-off bits from Cirque du Soleil. Like Hans Klok before her, Cher seems not to have done her due diligence in the neighborhood. That two-hunks-balancing-one-another act? Mystere. The aerial sheet-flying thing? Zumanity. When sequences are already done -- and done better -- at neighboring hotels, you wonder if Cher and her peeps bothered to check out the competition. Bette Midler and Toni Basil, by contrast, went and saw every last other Vegas show. Even the ones with animal tricks. Smart.

* For the love of GOD, drop the YMCA. Yes, they do this. With Village People impersonators. And no Cher. The whole song, dance and all. Tacky, tacky, tacky. And not in a good, how-'70s way.

* You're in the Colosseum, not the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Act like it. This is the most prestigious theater in the Western U.S., not any ol' concert venue. Celine Dion set the standard, being close to but somehow above her audience in a manner that made her seem more elegant, more old-school star-like. Slapping the hands of the audience? Maybe not. Confusing them about whether they can get up and dance? Get with security to work that out. Forcing the crowd to STAND UP AND CHEER FOR FIVE MINUTES FOR AN ENCORE THEY KNOW IS COMING BECAUSE YOU'VE YET TO GET TO YOUR BIGGEST HIT? Insulting.

I'll discuss this and have other observations on this week's episode of "The Strip," which will be recorded at home tonight and posted sometime tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Danny Gans uses YMCA to warm up the audience before his show.

Anonymous said...

Of course he does. Would you expect any less from that hack?!

ScottsdaleSean said...

Great objective review that should be heeded by Cher's director. This is valuable information-- they should send you free tickets after they re-tool the show!

Deb Las Vegas said...

We were at opening night of Cher it was GREAT! Nothing needs to be changed its just great the way it is! It was so much better then Bette (and I love her ) and 10 times better then Celine! Just leave the show the way it is....! It is a Must see show if coming to Vegas!