Cher touring again

Cher, 70, performing at Park Theater Monte Carlo in Las Vegas last month.
Cher, 70, performing at Park Theater Monte Carlo in Las Vegas last month.PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST

WASHINGTON• It was more than a half-century ago that Cherilyn Sarkisian LaPiere Bono - better known as Cher - became a pop star in the mid-1960s duo Sonny & Cher.

She would also become an Emmy-winning co-host on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour; a solo recording star; a Grammy-winning dance icon (for her song Believe); and an Oscar-winning actress (for Moonstruck, 1987).

At 70, Cher is touring again, with a dozen shows at the new MGM National Harbor in Maryland starting on Friday.

She spoke recently from Los Angeles about the show, her mortality, political activism and new ventures on stage and screen.

Are there advantages to playing new stages such as the Park Theater Monte Carlo in Las Vegas and the MGM National Harbor?

I haven't seen the other one, but the one in Vegas is just amazing. It's a joy to go out on it every day because it's so not like a lot of the theatres that you play in.

It's a small arena and it has the same feeling as an arena - everybody can stand up, you know, and dance around. There's not the same kind of restrictions as, like, Caesars Palace.

Having 11 costume changes must be difficult to do every night.

You know what, I'm just so used to it, it doesn't bother me at all. I mean, it's fast and there's a million people doing everything. Everybody just does the thing that they do and I just stand really quietly and meditate while they're doing it.

Is it as important to fans to see the clothes as it is to hear their favourite songs?

Well, you know, it started out that way. I did it to make me happy because I just didn't want to go out and stand in one outfit and sing. I thought it would be so much more fun and festive and, you know, more show business.

And you're still using the same designer after all these years, Bob Mackie.

Absolutely. We've been working together for 40 years. We try to pick out the costumes that go with the songs and there's pretty much a new costume that goes with each one. The most I do in one outfit is two songs.

How do you keep your voice sounding the same? Is it because it was so low to begin with?

Well, you know what? At one point, I started taking lessons and my voice just got so much better. It was always strong, but it didn't have the same kind of control. I didn't have the same range. So it's gotten better and I'm surprised.

You made Farewell Tour 14 years ago. I guess people forgive you for it not actually having been your farewell.

Well, who knows that it's not going to be your farewell? I mean, who thinks that you're going to keep doing it or that anyone is going to want to come? You never know. It's always like, "Oh, well, it's probably finished now". You could put on a show and go to sell tickets and nobody buys them.

Also, when you get older, you don't know what's going to happen. People are more interested in young people.

Your Twitter feed is very political. Will there be political content in your show and will you be doing any political activity while in Washington?

I just don't think it's right to do it from the stage. I can tell you, when you're entertaining people, you have them in a confined area and that's just not the place to do it. Now, I marched in all the marches and I'll march in every march that I'm near. And I won't give up. I won't give up.

Your image popped up at the Oscars this year. Why haven't you been in any movies lately?

Well, I'm about to do a movie about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and I'm very excited about that. I've been involved with Flint since pretty much the beginning, so I think this is going to have merit.

You have something coming to Broadway as well?

Right. Jeff Sellers, the producer that did Hamilton, he's producing it. The writer (Rick Elice) is the man who wrote Jersey Boys. So I'm very excited about it. I know it's going to be different. I think it's gong to be unusual and I think it's going to be good.

There are going to be three Chers in it, but I'm not going to be one of them - except every once in a while, for charity.

So how are you going to win a Tony? Is it important to you to get the EGOT - Emmy-Grammy-Oscar-Tony?

No, but I really loved being on Broadway (in 1982's Come Back To The Five And Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean).

I had a great time on it. The one thing I loved, too, is that you don't have to carry the whole show by yourself and you don't have to perform for the audience. So I enjoyed that.

I don't know how I'm going to win a Tony. I might have to do something else, you know. I've got some time left. I've got a little bit of time.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 13, 2017, with the headline 'Cher touring again'. Print Edition | Subscribe