The Cher Show Hits Chicago

Robbie-chicago-showThe prospect of a Cher Broadway show has never much filled my heart with glee. I think this is because Cher's not in it, which always takes the rest of pop culture in the universe down a notch for me. So talking about it last year felt kind of obligatory. But now that I've read about the actual details of the show, I feel a sense of new excitement about it. Because this is scholarship in action. This show is trying to make meaning of her life story. This isn't The Beat Goes On movie, part deux. Broadway artists are working on strategies to try to conceptualize Cher, structurally in a story and aesthetically with visuals and sounds. It's a cool thing for a Cher nerd after all.

The show opened a few weeks ago and there haven't been many reviews, mostly because this is a soft opening to a work in progress. A try out. Some Chicago papers have been doing feature stories on the show, like the Chicago Sun Times. Some interesting excerpts:

"...producer Jeffrey Seller, who is also the producer of “Hamilton” (playing a few blocks away at the CIBC Theatre), which tells the tale of, well, another iconic American. 'Who ever thought you could put Hamilton and Cher in the same sentence,' Seller said amid hearty laughter. 'America would not be the same were it not for Alexander Hamilton and Cher. And that is inarguably true. … People who are tenacious often are people who change the world. Alexander Hamilton unquestionably changed the world, and I think Cher, over the past 50-plus years, has absolutely changed the world"

Cast"'The idea of presenting Cher as a girl group was fascinating to me as a writer,' Elice said. 'You could have one of them argue with the other two, take sides against someone else, show how the three of them could support each other and evolve together over the course of the show. So, it’s not the cinema’s solution of here’s the young one, here’s the middle one, here’s the old one. They’re on all the time together so that we see sort of a refracted image of a personality onstage, which struck me as being a great way into a life that is so varied.'”

“'[The young ‘Babe’ Cher] is fearless but yet vulnerable and optimistic,' Block said of Elice’s unique character concept. '[Midlife ‘Star’ Cher] is confidence and poise. And I’m [as Lady] the wisdom of it all. I think the audience will really be taken aback that it’s not the young one who passes the torch to Lady who passes the torch to Star. We kind of liken it to a Russian nesting doll: There is the one doll, and then you open up and there’s the second and then the third. But yet when you put them all together it makes a complete Cher. And we’re hoping the audience really grasps and takes a hold of that because it’s not only theatrical but it’s very special and moving. … It’s this gorgeous, theatrical Cher therapy session.'”

There have also been interesting articles about the cast ( and Playbill and CBS Local), the promo, Ru Paul's Drag Race put on an unauthorized Cher Rusical that was very smart and politically aware. Carol Burnett attended the opening show to support Bob Mackie.  We saw behind the scenes photos. 

I haven’t seen many official reviews yet (see one at the end of this article) but both Cher fans and theater fans have written some very good commentary on the show’s highlights and drawbacks.

Because these is long, I'm creating a post break for you.

Continue reading "The Cher Show Hits Chicago" »

Where We Are Now (with Great Cher News)

BuddhaBefore we start, I'd like to share this zen parable I learned many years ago. This story has helped me in both good times and in bad:

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. Now he would not be able to help on the farm. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

Where I Am Now

So...I haven't been posting for the past three or so weeks. First it was the week before the U.S. election and work was very busy at CNM. Then the week of the election happened and many of us, (I would argue the majority of us) , were feeling stomach cramps and living the U.S. Electoral nightmare. And I have to tell you, something in me changed on November 9. It was as if the election showed me what my special purpose was, to quote Navin R. Johnson. I've been spending the last few weeks organizing and setting up some new messaging initiatives against what I see as the encroachment of Fascism and racism in my country and around the world.

Elections have consequences, as President Obama has often said. For our purposes here at I Found Some Blog, I no longer will have the time to post long, academic Cher tracts beyond the latest news. Something's gotta give after all. I'm working on a novel and two other writing projects. I can't take on the new commitments of activism without giving something up. So no more play-by-plays of the television shows and long reviews of albums. I actually had three of the last four Sonny & Cher show wrap-ups ready to go. But there's no time to finish them now. My gift of gab is now "going to the cause" and that means getting active in my community, motivating Democrats to vote, and wearing my safety pin as a reminder to fight racism and hatred every single day.

If these are values you share, please come by my new Facebook page "BTW New Mexico is a U.S. State," LIKE the page, and SHARE some of the posts with your friends. I would sure appreciate it.


CherxmasBut even Dark Ages had good times. There has been some great Cher news over the last three weeks and we're thankful for tender mercies, we are.

Cher scholar Bruce Barton notified us recently that on Monday December 5 GetTV will be airing the rarely seen 1975 Cher Christmas show. He also linked us to a clip of the festive intro. Can't wait!

And according to the GetTV schedule, there are other goodies in store.

This Monday, November 21, we can binge on three episodes we've already seen: (1) Jean Stapelton and Mike Connors, (2) Jimmy Durante and (3) Andy Griffith.

November 28: The 1973 Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour Christmas Special

December 5: The 1975 Christmas Special with Redd Foxx, The Hudson Brothers and The Lennon Sisters. It looks like it's the full hour show.


ClassiccherYou may have heard that Cher is doing some limited shows in Las Vegas and Washington, D.C. next spring. Miraculously I was able to get tickets to one of the Vegas shows. Check out Cher's site for details.

Cher as also on James Cordin's late night show around the time the tickets went on sale. Watch Cher and James singing "I Got You Babe" and  Cher talking about "I Got You Babe".

She was also on The Today Show.


So the Broadway show is also actually coming together. From Playbill:

There will be a two-week staged reading in New York City January 2-14. Pitch Perfect’s Jason Moore will direct. It's being called The Cher Show. Flody Suarez and Hamilton’s Jeffrey Seller are producing. And some details were revealed. The characters of Cher are Babe (teenager), Lady (solo) and Star (which sounds like her evolution to icon). Other characters include Sonny, Georgia, Bob Mackie, David Geffen, Gregg Allman, Robert Altman, Rob Camilletti, and Sigmund Freud. Different era Chers may also talk to each other. The book was written by Tony Award-winning Rick Elice (of Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). Cher songs in the show may include  “I Got You Babe,” “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves,” “Take Me Home,” “Believe,” and “If I Could Turn Back Time.” Tony winner Daryl Waters is musical supervisor.

Our Beautiful Friends

Farm-storyCher scholar and one of the contributors to Cher Zine 3 has published a memoir called Farm Story! I'm very excited to read this as soon as I can finagle a copy.

Cher was also interviewed for the Fast Company Innovation Festival, "Cher on Creativity and the Power of Authenticity."  I was disappointed with the piece but the "big show" comments were interesting and her ideas around emojis, which are now considered fine art!


Four Videos for November

PsaIf you are intent on voting a Romney ticket, you probably won't enjoy these first three videos. Here we are the weekend before somewhat of an historic election in the United States. And although Cher has not been guesting on talk shows such as she did in elections past, she's been busy tweeting. And now she and Kathy Griffith have posted an election PSA spot on the YouTubes. Message aside (you had me at hellooo), I think Kathy and Cher could take this act on the road, or at least to a new TV variety series.


LesmisMy cousin also sent me this good election PSA (billed as a paradoy of Les Miserables but it's not very ha-ha-funny as you find most parodies) but it's pretty inspiring nonetheless.



YoudontOne of my favorite election PSAs this year is from Leslie Gore done to her song "You Don't Own Me."

It's full of lady-power and confidence! Riot Grrls come to roost.




LpUnrelated to the election (is that possible?), my dad is now into an artist named LP and he sent me her video link from a recent performance on David Letterman.

She's awesome! I plan to dig more into this!



Elton John Is Top Gay Icon

Cher_and_Elton_John_1975 In other very important news, Elton John and Judy Garland were declared top gay icons by This is an interesting choice of Elton John. At first I didn’t like it but it is growing on me.

This choice shows us that gay icon represents more than just a singer gay men or women love, but a person in the position of ultimate representation and activism. John’s recent efforts to adopt a son have highlighted family-value issues as understood within and outside of the gay community. So, it’s a fine choice.

It is interesting to see how the male/female winners and contenders were different in the ways they tended to be iconic:

The male list was predominantly made up of gay men – including late Queen singer Freddie Mercury, British TV star Stephen Fry and ‘Faith’ hitmaker George Michael – apart from soccer hunk David Beckham, who is married to Victoria Beckham.

Meanwhile, the female list was full of glamorous female stars – including singers Kylie Minogue, Madonna and Cher – rather than famous lesbians.

Maureen McCormick Meets Cher

Cherchas Maureen McCormick’s book about life as a Brady Bunch kid, among other subjects is now available. Cher Scholar Robrt sent me the excerpt where McCormick writes about meeting Cher.

The setup: the group The Brady Kids had their first musical appearance at a music industry show at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. Sonny and Cher were there and met the Brady’s backstage.

I was enamored of Sonny and Cher. I couldn’t take my eyes off Cher. It was the first time I had been around a woman who thoroughly mesmerized people, who commanded your attention with her looks. We were introduced to her backstage. She was with her daughter, Chastity, a tiny blond cherub with her mother’s expressions. Eve (Plumb) held Chastity’s hand and sweetly asked, “Can you say ‘elephant’?”

Before she could respond, Cher cracked, “She can say a hell of a lot more than elephant, that’s for sure.”

First of all, in my fantasy version of this episode Cher says “She can f*#king say a lot more than elephant, that's for sure.” I don’t know why but that’s more believable to me for some reason.

Secondly, this brief exchange is interesting on many levels. For one, it shows how caustic and coarse Cher could be even among teen celebrities and her own kid. I’m not judging that; but I can attest to being jarred by it the first time I read Cher's language peppered with the f-bomb all through that People Magazine article of 1979. I was nine years old and sick with the flu at the time and my parents brought me home a milkshake and this Cher gift (Cher gifts becoming somewhat of a rare occurrence after it started to occur to them that I wasn’t outgrowing this Cher fetish). And this was right when my illusions of Cher being the classiest, vulgar-free princess were first shattered. I f*#king got over it but it took a while.

Secondly, it also shows how even the most lusted after teen blonde icon of the early 70s, Marsha Marsha Brady, #1 on every boys ToDo list and #1 on every gals ToLookLike list, was actually enamored of Cher who she saw as fully commanding with her looks; and meanwhile Cher is coveting the look of blonde princesses such as her mom, sister and Marsha-Brady-types. It’s insane, absolutely the stuff Dr. Seuss Sneetches fables are made of and evidence that our collective insecurities cause us to chase our own tales like idiots.

And not only could Chastity say the world elephant, she had probably already ridden one in that parade by then.    

Gay Idol (Continued)

Cho Where does Cher rank in gay icon-dom, Part 2? Margaret Cho is interviewed by After Ellen and she has the following to say:

AE: In a girl fight to the death for the title of Ultimate Gay Icon, who would win: you, Cher, Liza or Madonna?
MC: Oh, my God, I think it would have to be Cher.

AE: Why?
MC: Cher is the greatest.

AE: No, I mean a knock-down, drag-out.
MC: Oh, I don't know. I think Cher could really kick ass. Or Madonna.

Margaret’s opinion matters in Gay Icon-dom, as she’s an underground Icon herself. This is a good sign that she sees Cher neck-and-neck with Madonna.

Battle of the Titans

Dusty Gay Spy lists Cher as one of the top gay icons. And for whom is this news?  Amazingly, she’s rated #7 of 10! Here’s my reworking of this list based on my know-it-all understanding of gay iconoclasting.

1. and 2. Madonna v. Kylie - This is a tie depending upon whether you’re European or American and is a ferocious flaming war of the Divas that will never die. I know this because a battle on the topic was often raging in the defunct Ape Culture forum. Who will win, we do not know; but their absolute domination in spirit and creativity in videos and live shows will keep them battling for the top spot for a while to come.

3. Cher – I believe Cher has surpassed Babs in the last ten years and is gaining strength.

4. Barbra Streisand – who would be at list top if she still had hits.

5. Shirley Bassey – for the gays with taste, as Margaret Cho's grandmum would say.

6. Dusty Springfield – ditto (speaking of Jerry Wexler...Cher’s Jackson Highway album was recorded the same summer with the same producers (almost) as one of the Earth’s greatest albums Dusty in Memphis)

7. Elton John – too fussy to be #1 and his latest songs are worse than the latest songs by Stevie Wonder.

8. Kate Bush – Well loved but a bit obscure for mainstream numbers.

9. Christina Aguilera – She’s so young yet and doesn’t have the I've-been-around-forever survivor-boost to be near the top of the list.

10. Britney Spears – Last because how long can fans survive that sinking ship?

Conspicuously missing from the list: Judy Garland who should hover either above Cher or above Barbra, I'm not sure. What do you think?


Elton John Influenced by Cher?

Eltonjohn1 For the last few weeks I’ve been obsessed with a VH-1 show called Classic Albums. It’s similar to my obsession with Project Runway in that I love to see a project come together. I love to learn how artists of any kind make choices and decisions along the way.

Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road was an amazing episode of Classic Albums. Many iconic albums seem labored over. Not this one. It’s like he whipped it out and went home early. One comment he made was very interesting to me as it related indirectly to Cher.

Elton said he started out only wanting to write songs with Bernie Taupin. He didn’t want to be a lead singer or be a singer at all. But they couldn’t find anybody who would record their songs. So they decided to record their songs themselves. They decided Elton would sing; but it just as well could have been Bernie. And Elton said that by the Yellow Brick Road album in 1973 he had finally come into his own singing style. Before that, he struggled to define a style.

Which is interesting because in a few earlier recordings it always seemed to me like Elton John was trying to sing like Cher. In fact, in the mid to late 1970s when I would often hear the song "Levon" on the radio, (Levon was a hit in 1972), I didn’t yet know who Elton John was and I would always be confused. Is that Cher? I don’t think that’s a Cher song. How could there be a Cher hit on the radio and I wouldn't know about it? (I was seven or eight and already a know-it-all Cher Scholar beeotch.) But yet it sounds just like Cher!

Later when I knew it was an Elton John song, I still thought it sounded like Cher.

Speaking of the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, does anybody think "Bennie and the Jets" sounds like an homage to S&C-like acts? Or more specifically about a group like the Ronettes but with the fashion sense of Sonny & Cher?

...Hey kids...(something, something, something)...electric music, solid walls of sound...(blah, blah, blah)...have you seen them yet...oooh, but they’re so spaced out...they’re so weird and they’re wonderful...Bennie, she’s really keen...she’s got electric boots...a mohair know I read it in a magazine...b-b-b-Bennie and the Jets...

According to VH-1 Classic Albums, the audience sounds are all fake, complete with British peoples clapping on the off-beats as apparently they are rhythmically challenged this way.

Turns out the audience cheering is from a Jimi Hendrix show! And people give Cher drama for her fake voice box bits. Hmmm. So it’s only cool when Elton fakes it...dressed in feathers.


Happy Mother’s Day!

Getting_makeup_with_kids_2For all the vampy mothers out there...

I wonder who picked up more makeup tips here: Chastity or Elijah? I never watched my mother put on makeup because my mother always puts on makeup in the car.

Best Movie Mom

Cher was listed as one of the best movie moms. Ah! That’s sweetness. She’s played one kick-ass moms. Was she technically a mom to that monkey in Good Times? No, I guess he was just a house guest. They did have that bald son chopping wood out back. In Witches she was a mom. Her teenage daughter looked put-upon...and frustrated about where to put her Richard Simmons video tapes amongst all the giant booby doll sculptures. In both Mask and Mermaids, Cher-as-mom always did a big scene of yelling, not a lot of cooking (a roast and some finger foods), and always flirted with men about town.

Does this describe your mom? My mom is unlike any of Cher’s movie moms. It’s a stretch but maybe she’s like Ben’s mom in Mask except she doesn’t ride a Harley or smoke pot. A few years ago, my mother wrote in to Ask Cher Scholar. This is a good excerpt of some of her ongoing concerns.

Which Cher Movie Mom is your mom most like?

Does Your Mom Look Like This?

Demanding Moms

Does your mom demand that you send her a physical card for Mother’s Day and not just an e-card? Mine does. I learned that the hard way last year. I call this a Mom Rider (a list of things Mom demands).

Concert riders are discussed on the site After Ellen. The comments about Cher made me laugh out loud.

Cher — If you've ever seen Cher live, you know she changes her costume more than she sings songs. In her rider, she requires a room just for her wigs. Cher also refuses to wear a backstage pass. I'll give her that one: if you don't know Cher on sight, you have no business working at an arena.

Here’s more of Cher's rider on Smoking Gun.

I hope everyone has a good Mother’s Day: whether your mom is cool, dysfunctional, or has passed on.