Cher's beat goes on
When Cher returns to Las Vegas this week with her extended engagement at Park Theater at Monte Carlo, she brings the confidence of a superstar headliner. Classic Cher is the latest in a long line of Strip productions and appearances that dates back nearly five decades to when she and Sonny Bono opened for Pat Boone for a month at the Frontier Hotel, cultivating an act they would turn into a hit TV show within a few short years. Since then Cher has had a Vegas production for nearly every phase of her career, each a more flamboyant spectacle than the last. Classic Cher promises to be the culmination of all of that experience, with a set list tailored to celebrate her song catalog.
At least one poignant moment from a previous show is likely to return. At her last residency at the Colosseum at Caesars she sang “I Got You Babe” with Bono via a screen projection of her late ex-husband. She expressed last year in an interview with ET that she would like to bring it back, and for a show that covers the spectrum of her career it would be hard to top that moment. She and Bono were so ingratiated with Vegas before becoming television stars that they recorded a pair of live albums at Strip venues, the second at the Sahara (now the SLS and the W Las Vegas).
It would be several years, a split from Sonny and multiple shifts in style before she laid the groundwork for the modern residency with a show that ran at Caesars’ Circus Maximus from 1979 to 1982. She was actually on a world concert tour, but she played multi-date engagements when she was in Vegas and recorded one show for video in 1981. She changed costumes 12 times for those concerts, never wearing one longer than eight minutes, and in addition to six backup singers the production featured Bette Midler and Diana Ross female impersonators.
“I love the creative process,” she told Fast Company in November 2016. “I believe that my job onstage is to take people away from their lives and problems and whatever. I always design the shows to entertain me, and they seem to entertain my audience, too.”
Caesars would welcome her back in 2008 with a three-year residency at the Colosseum, putting her in an exclusive club of entertainers including the real Midler, Celine Dion, Elton John and Rod Stewart. Cher’s show was a visual feast, with the singer making her entrance on a throne floating above the audience. Her costumes glittered with all the sparkle her longtime designers could conjure, her headdresses defied gravity and her dancers exploded with sensual energy. Cher would tour after the residency ended, supporting her 2013 album Closer to the Truth, but Vegas would come calling once more.
Classic Cher will be performed on both coasts, though. Between this month and May 20, Cher will perform at least 18 concerts at Park Theater and the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Maryland. During that time she’ll be helping develop biographical-musical The Cher Show for Broadway with the help of Jersey Boys author Rick Elice and Hamilton producer Jeffrey Seller, giving her two projects that take a retrospective look at her career in 2017. Cher is creatively celebrating herself, which is exactly what her fans expect.
Park Theater at Monte Carlo, 8 p.m. Feb. 8, 10-11, 14, 18-19, 22 & 24-25, $60-$475 plus tax and fee. 702.730.6620