In ‘The Cher Show’ at Capital One Hall, the icon’s life, loves, and looks

A musical for superfans and appreciators of sequins, glitz, and glamor — with three standout performances as Cher.

For six straight decades, the woman who has weathered it all and defined the term icon is Cher, and it is that very creation story center stage at the Capital One Hall for one weekend only. A variety–show–esque musical that chronicles Cher’s life, loves, and looks, The Cher Show — book by Rick Elice and directed by Casey Hushion — is for Cher superfans and appreciators of sequins, glitz, and glamor.

As the three different Chers who tell the story — from a young kid bursting with enthusiasm to a glamorous icon learning hard lessons, guided by the legend who has claimed who she is — Ella Perez, Catherine Ariale, and Morgan Scott were the absolute standouts of this production. Walking a fine line between character and tribute singing, they brought their own powerful voices to the diva tone everyone on earth recognizes within two notes.

The three Chers: Catherine Ariale as Lady, Morgan Scott as Star, and Ella Perez as Babe in ‘The Cher Show.’ Photo by Meredith Mashburn Photography.

Perez captured innocence, excitement, and dreamy aspirations from the tricky age of first grade through to her initial stardom. Tackling the classics “I Got You Babe” as she finally became famous and “The Beat Goes On” when silver screen and center stage success finally came, Perez brought a spunky, earnest energy to the trio.

As a newly minted star, Ariale’s portrait of coming of age, loss of innocence, and then ultimate liberation hit you in the chest both with feels and with some seriously powerful vocals. Highlighting Ariale’s sheer vocal capability was the exceptional “Strong Enough,” but for me it was the heartbreak of “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” that really captured the metamorphosis of this era of Cher.

Transforming into the third Cher (who graces the world today and guides the story on stage), Scott personified the self-assured confidence that comes with time and trusting yourself. Taking the lead on the most recognizable songs, “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe” among many others, Scott had the closest match to Cher’s unique singing and speaking cadences that allowed for a transporting ride. But for me, Scott’s performance was really the most powerful in the quiet, vulnerable moments like in “The Way of Love.” It was captivating how in a story, a personality, and a production so big and flashy, it was the still moments with just one or two people on stage that held the most intensity. But of course when the three combined — particularly in “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” — it was also something to behold.

Floating in and out of these three’s single story was a supporting cast and ensemble of many faces, names, and costumes. The one name everyone can expect in a story about Cher was Sonny Bono, played by Lorenzo Pugliese, who bottled up Sonny’s look, voice, love, and resentment. From the original “I Got You Babe” to its reprise in Act 2, Pugliese tracked Sonny’s own evolution in the show from hopeful and bright to unsettling and dark and then tragically gone.

Similarly weaving in and out was Cher’s mother, Georgia Holt, played by Lucy Werner. With vocal styling that showed the audience where Cher “got it from” (particularly in “You Better Sit Down Kid”), Werner was a consistent source of stinging one-liners and motherly advice. Gary Paul Bowman as Rob Camilletti was also a particularly tender and endearing spark of love in the show, highlighted in “I Found Someone.” Even after his brief moment in the tale, you felt his absence and the loss of hope for normal life that Cher placed in him.

Bringing the fashion and the fun was Bob Mackie, played by Tyler Pirrung. “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” might have had an eye-squinting amount of sequins but what an enjoyable burn. Pirrung also did a standout job in his portrayal of Robert Altman in one of the turning points of the show.

The rest of the supporting cast and ensemble — Mike Bindeman, Emma Alteri, Michelle Arotsky, Neftali Benitez, Charles Blaha, Emma Jade Branson, Kevin Michael Buckley, Samantha Butts, Liz Davis, Mollie Downes, Jordan Gold, Nathan Hoty, Tre Kanaley, Drew Lake, Mason Derreck Lewis, and Grace Napoletano — seemed fueled by nostalgia and hairspray as they helped to pass the decades, names, and faces of Cher’s one-of-a-kind career.

Catherine Ariale as Lady, Morgan Scott as Star, Ella Perez as Babe, and the cast of ‘The Cher Show.’ Photo by Meredith Mashburn Photography.

As you might guess, the creative team of this national tour had big lights, big looks, and big kicks. With a heavy dose of nostalgia for the Sonny and Cher TV show and supercharged glamor, there was a special emphasis on all of Cher’s iconic looks, including ones you might have forgotten about but then instantly recognize. With video design by Jonathan Infante and Kelly James Tighe, set design by Kelly James Tighe, lighting design by Charlie Morrison, sound design by Daniel Lundberg, choreography by Antoinette Dipietropolo, and original Broadway and tour costume design by Bob Mackie, the creative team sure pack the Cher look and feel onto any stage they travel to.

Come for the clothes and stay for the belts; The Cher Show weaves 35 of the diva’s hits into one big-hair experience for mere mortals. Playing Capital One Hall for one weekend only, this national tour is sure to keep Cher fans dancing in their seats love after love after love.

Running Time: Approximately two hours and 30 minutes, with a 15-minute intermission.

The Cher Show plays through February 18, 2024, at the Capital One Hall – 7750 Capital One Tower Road, Tysons, VA. To purchase tickets ($39–$100), visit their website or contact the Box Office via email ([email protected]).

The program for The Cher Show is online here. The national tour website is here.

Catherine Ariale – Lady
Ella Perez – Babe
Morgan Scott – Star
Tyler Pirrung – Bob Mackie/Robert Altman/Frank
Lorenzo Pugliese – Sonny Bono
Lucy Werner – Georgia Holt/Lucille Ball
Mike Bindeman – Gregg Allman/John Southall
Emma Alteri – Bridget/Ensemble
Michelle Arotsky – Girl Group/Female ET Reporter/Ensemble
Neftali Benitez – Dave Clark Five/Bob Mackie’s Assistant/Ensemble
Charles Blaha – Infomercial Director/Digby the Writer/Dave Clark Five/Ensemble
Gary Paul Bowman – Rob Camilletti/Dave Clark Five/Ensemble
Emma Jade Branson – Dark Lady/Ensemble
Kevin Michael Buckley – Phil Spector/Sid the Censor/Male ET Reporter/Dave Clark Five/Ensemble
Samantha Butts – Ensemble
Liz Davis – Ensemble
Mollie Downes – Studio Singer/Ensemble
Jordan Gold – Girl Group/Ensemble
Nathan Hoty – Ensemble
Tre Kanaley – Dave Clark Five/Steve the Scribe/Ensemble
Drew Lake – Studio Singer/Girl Group/Ensemble
Mason Derreck Lewis – Lee/Top of the Pops Host/Ensemble
Grace Napoletano – Colleen/Ensemble

Wig Design – Roxanne De Luna
Technical Supervisor – James Book
Tour Press & Marketing – True Marketing, Wendy J. Connor
Casting Director – Alison Franck, C.S.A.
Dance Music Arrangements – Zane Mark And Daryl Waters
Costume Coordinator – Janine Loesch
Video Design – Jonathan Infante, Kelly James Tighe
Set Design – Kelly James Tighe
Lighting Design – Charlie Morrison
Sound Design – Daniel Lundberg
Original Broadway and Tour Costume Design by Bob Mackie
Choreography by Antoinette Dipietropolo
Direction by Casey Hushion
Executive Producer – Daniel Sher


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