ICYMI: CHER IS COMING TO BROADWAY! Well, not Cher the person – Cher the show. As a refresh, Cher has sold over 140 million records; she has held U.S. Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles for the longest period of time in history (over 33 years); she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; she has an Oscar… and an Emmy… and she’s in the Grammy Hall of Fame. And that’s just the short list of honors bestowed on the 72-year-old superstar.
The Cher Show starts previews at the Neil Simon Theatre on November 1 and Broadway vet Stephanie J. Block has been tasked with playing the icon on stage. So, you know… no pressure. Broadway Spin caught up with the two-time Tony nominee at the NYCLU’s 16th Annual Broadway Stands Up for Freedom to find out why this cause was important to her and how she’s feeling about portraying one of the greatest performers in the HISTORY OF THE WORLD (!!!)
Broadway Spin: Why is tonight so important to you?
Stephanie J. Block: I feel like I’ve exhausted all my possibilities by calling senators and signing petitions and marching. Not that I’m exhausted, by any means – but I just want to do something. So, as a singer it’s very rare that you can use your talents towards something that will hopefully change the world a little bit. When an opportunity like this comes around, you say yes.
BS: Speaking of opportunities, how excited are you to play Cher? Are you nervous?
SJB: I’m crazy nervous! Are you kidding? She’s remarkable. But I was more nervous before I had her blessing.
BS: How did you get her blessing?
SJB: I had to do her for her for about two-and-a-half hours in a small rehearsal space, and so once that was cleared and I got the hug that was great. Now, it’s about bringing it to her fans and throngs of people who know her and adore her. You want their blessing as well. We’re creating something we’re proud of.
BS: So, you performed in front of Cher! Holy crap!
SJB: Yes! I had to be her for her. And that’s exactly right: holy crap. But she’s generous and understands what this art form is and understands how vulnerable – it’s not an easy thing. You’re facing your fear and she’s used to doing that and she comes out stronger every time she does. She’s really been a blessing to us and the process. She has a lot to say, as she should, about her show. We shall see it’s right around the corner!
BS: How are you preparing for the role?
SJB: Well, I’ve been doing readings for well over a year. So, the preparation has been long. But I think that’s what’s necessary to bring her to life without becoming a caricature. There’s always that balance of being her, but servicing the story and still being true to myself.
BS: Has that been a challenge?
SJB: That balance has not been easy to find. I think we’re finding it now. And girl, I’m not kidding, the cardio that needs to happen with 30 costume changes and 9 wig changes is serious – and that’s just me. It’s a beautiful workout, a beautiful testament to her and the impact she’s had on the art world, fashion world, and the movie world. She’s really something else.