Special Reports

5 Actors Who Should Play Cher on Broadway

Here are the performers best suited to step into Cher’s diamond-encrusted shoes in ”The Cher Show”.

Cher performs "Believe" during the 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour.
Cher performs “Believe” during the 2014 Dressed to Kill Tour.
(© David Carroll)

2018 is the year that The Cher Show comes to Broadway! After making its world premiere at Chicago’s Oriental Theater in June, it is set to open at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre sometime this fall. Casting has yet to be announced, but that won’t stop us from mentally casting our ideal Chers — yes, there are several. And since Cher will be portrayed by three different actors of varying ages (Fun Home-style), it is quite possible that several of our picks will make the final cast. With that in mind, here are the top five actors on our Cher Show wish list.

1. Lady Gaga
This may seem like a perfunctory choice since the ever-theatrical Lady Gaga’s first bow on Broadway has become the most eagerly anticipated debut of the century. But take one look at Cher in her black rococo wig next to Gaga in her meat dress and you know it: These ladies are kindred spirits. They even collaborated previously on the unreleased song “The Greatest Thing.” Undoubtedly, Cher blazed a bedazzled trail for artists like Gaga, so it seems the perfect tribute for the younger diva to portray her forebear on the Broadway stage. We can think of few pop performers today who could bring the requisite fire and magic to tell the epic tale that is Cher. And while it’s true that Cher is a head taller than Gaga (who stands at five foot two inches), that’s nothing platform heels and a few peacock feathers cannot remedy. As both women intuitively understand, the art of burlesque is everything you dream of, but never can possess.

2. Lena Hall
Speaking of illusion, Lena Hall floored us with her convincingly masculine performance as Yitzhak in the 2014 Broadway revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. She earned a Tony Award for the role and reprised it on the national tour, in which she also took on the part of Hedwig one night a week. Hall possesses pipes of steel and attitude for days, both qualities that make her a perfect match for The Cher Show. Apparently, guests at a very exclusive reading of the musical last January agreed, highly praising Hall’s portrayal of medium Cher. We really hope we get to see this dark lady in action when the show lands on Broadway.

3. Lesli Margherita
Anyone who has seen her live knows that Lesli Margherita has a special connection with her audiences. Her cabaret performances crackle with spontaneity, and she will have you rolling in the aisle with even a mildly funny script (as she proved recently in Who’s Holiday!). Like Cher, Margherita is the kind of consummate performer that we cannot stop watching. Margherita also took part in the reading last January (as older Cher) and spectators loved her — but dare we believe in life after love?

4. Chad Michaels
This may be the most unorthodox name on the list, but no one can dispute Michaels’s qualifications: The RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars winner has made a living impersonating Cher for years, most notably in San Diego’s long-running Dreamgirls Revue. Not only is Michaels a dead ringer for the pop goddess, but he’s been doing a detailed character study for over two decades. It’s safe to say that gender is not the biggest obstacle to Michaels playing Cher on Broadway. Rather, it might just be prior commitments: Michaels is already booked to headline the very first Cher Crewz, a seven-day voyage to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Escape embarking from New York on November 4 — roughly the time The Cher Show is set to open on Broadway. One can only hope the fiesta deck will be chock-full of uniformed sailors to make this missed opportunity worth it.

5. Cher
Let’s be honest: This is the one you really want. No one could play Cher better than Cher herself. She humbly acknowledged as much when she told the New York Post in 2014, “I could play the old Cher quite well.” Of course she could: She’s currently doing it in her Classic Cher concert residency, which has been bouncing back and forth between Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., for the last year. That show is set to wrap in May, right before The Cher Show begins performances at Chicago’s Oriental Theater. Lest you even entertain the notion that the 71-year-old pop star is too old for a Broadway run, remember that last year’s Tony winner for Best Actress in a Musical was 71-year-old Bette Midler. Cher on Broadway might seem like a far-fetched proposition, but it shouldn’t be. As Bruce Springsteen has recently proven, if you actually show up, Broadway audiences will lay their money down.