Final Bow: The Beat Goes On for The Cher Show's Micaela Diamond
At 19, Diamond came into her own with the help of the music icon she portrays.
Micaela Diamond turned down acceptance to prestigious performance university Carnegie Mellon in order to make her Broadway debut, and she hasn't looked back since. In playing Babe — the youngest of Cher's three alter egos in The Cher Show — Diamond, who just turned 20, gained experience she could never have gleaned in class: working with and getting advice from pros like costar Stephanie J. Block, costume designer Bob Mackie, and the mononymous music icon herself. Before the production at the Neil Simon Theatre wraps up its Broadway run on August 18, Diamond looked back on a show that helped her come into her own as a performer — and as a teen, too.
1. What is your favorite line that you get to say or sing?
When I sing the last "la de da de de, la de da de da" in "The Beat Goes On," when Stephanie J. Block hands me the Oscar and I chuck it up in the air. For some reason, that always means so much to me and I feel so Micaela. It's my favorite moment in the whole show. It's very special.
2. What is your cast's best inside joke?
"Previews start November 1."
3. What was the worst technical difficulty you experienced during the run, and how was it handled?
Last week, during "Beat Goes On," I heard them trying to get the trap door shut so it could rise up. I hear Michael Berresse being like, "You have to lock the trap!" My line is, "Thank goodness. Back me up, would ya?" But I saw them below me, so I said "Thank goodness. Come on up now, would ya?" They made it up for their lines, but for a second, I was alone onstage in a number where there were supposed to be two other people with me.
4. What is the most interesting present you received at the stage door?
It's a portrait of Babe, and it's all made with string that's strung together from across different nail heads. It must have taken hours, and we each got one. It's pretty brilliant.
5. Who is the coolest person to come see the show?
I guess Cher is pretty cool.
6. What is the best piece of wisdom that the real Cher imparted to you, either about playing her or about life in general?
Cher was like, "You are so much more like me than I ever could have imagined, so be the most Micaela you can be onstage." It was very freeing. And that was a week before opening, so it was nice to hear that just in time.
7. What Cher song do you wish was in The Cher Show that isn't?
"What Now My Love." I wish a lot of her early stuff was in it. We used to have "All I Need Is You" and I loved that song, too. Jarrod and I had so much fun playing the flirtiness in that song.
8. This show is about female empowerment. How has playing Cher empowered you personally?
I'm trying and still learning to stop apologizing for myself. Cher does that so rarely. She apologizes when she means it. But when it comes to who she is and what she wants to present to the world, she's so unapologetic in a beautiful way. I think it's really, really cool. I've come into my own as a teen, too, through playing her.
9. You turned down acceptance to Carnegie Mellon to star in The Cher Show. Looking back, do you think you made the right call?
I do! I think you need both training and real life experience. But there's nothing like learning on the job from Stephanie J. Block every day, and learning how to keep it fresh, and completely failing along the way.
I remember a very specific day in March. I was doing the show and a workshop at the same time. I got to "Beat Goes On" and I was so tired and gave up in the middle of the song. I'm sure the audience didn't really take note, but I felt my whole body collapse. At the end of the show, I had a major breakdown and was so angry at myself. I was confused about how to not do that again.
People get to give up during class in front of their professors, and it's OK, but I had to learn that in front of 1,400 people, which was very embarrassing. But you learn and you get through it and you find out how to not give up, because there's someone in the audience seeing their first Broadway show or who needs to see that moment. You find ways to keep it alive. I made lots of mistakes, but I think I learned so quickly because I had to. Ever since that day, I have never given up in the middle of a show, ever.
10. Which Bob Mackie costume are you going to try to steal on the last day?
I really am gonna try to steal a few, I'm not gonna lie. I think the one I want the most is my first Mackie gown. It was the first thing I ever tried on at a fitting and I've never been in a dress with a corset that's perfectly fitted for me and that mermaids out. I've never felt so beautiful as when I put on that finished product, and Bob Mackie made me feel so beautiful. That's the one I want to keep.