Broadway Sandwich: "The Cher Show"
Follow Broadway's biggest stars during their breaks between matinee and evening performances. Get a behind-the-scenes peek at Bob Mackie’s Tony Award-winning costumes with “The Cher Show” star, Teal Wicks.
Just stare at that food a little bit longer.
And action on set.
Yes, I eat.
[ Laughs ]
Scribner: The lives of Broadway performers are busy.
They only have a few short hours
between their matinee and evening performances,
and they're giving us an inside look,
from grabbing a bite to unwinding.
Plus a backstage tour.
Have you ever wanted to see what we do in the time
sandwiched between performances?
Follow along and find out.
This is "Broadway Sandwich."
Today we're at a show about a woman who only needs one name.
The show features 35 of her hit songs,
two rock star husbands,
six decades of stardom, a Grammy, an Oscar, an Emmy,
and more costume changes than I could ever count.
You guessed it, we're at "The Cher Show."
♪ Do you believe in life after love? ♪
♪ After love, after love, after love? ♪
Scribner: It takes three women to play this culture icon.
They each portray her at different points
in her life -- Babe, Lady, and Star.
They interact with each other on stage
in a creative and effective way.
The Neil Simon Theatre opened in 1927,
but then it was called the Alvin Theatre.
It was the home of the original production of "Annie,"
the revivals of "Cats" and "Angels in America,"
and with its longest-running show
at 2,642 performances, "Hairspray."
Today we're hanging out with my friend Teal Wicks,
who plays one of the Chers in the show, Lady.
Now, this isn't Teal's first powerhouse role.
She played Elphaba in "Wicked" for her Broadway debut.
She's also been in "Jekyll & Hyde"
and "Finding Neverland" on Broadway.
Hey, bro. Hi.
Hi. How was your show?
Okay, so you know that I have a major friend crush on you.
Yes. Since we met doing a commercial together.
But now I have a major talent crush on you
'cause you are so unbelievable. Thanks.
Such a wonderful actress. Thank you.
Of course, powerhouse singer. Thanks.
I'm so happy we get to spend time together and see
what you do between shows. Yeah.
So what's the plan today, 'cause we gotta get you back
in just a couple house for your second show?
Yeah, yeah. So I have to eat.
Gotta love -- love eating. Let's go to Amy's Bread.
And then I have to do some shopping for a photo shoot,
so I want I want to hit up Anthropologie for a little.
I could pick up a few things, too.
Let's go. Sounds good.
Good to see you. Bye, babes!
Here, let me pull this stool out.
Look at this. Oh, Garen the gentleman.
Okay, so I know your story, 'cause we friends.
Mm-hmm. But for our viewers, we need to do an origin story.
Where do you come from? How did you get here?
Okay. So I knew I wanted to go to college
and I wanted to study theater.
So I went to UC Irvine down in Southern California.
So then how did you get from college
to when you started doing musical theater professionally?
Yeah. And doing "Wicked."
My first professional job was a did a production
of "Pippin" at Goodspeed Opera House.
I played Catherine.
The first time I ever auditioned for "Wicked," I didn't get it.
But then -- But they saw you.
But they saw me. Yeah.
Then the next time, they called me in was for the Elphaba cover.
And I found out I booked the standby for Elphaba in LA,
and I had to leave two weeks early
so I could fly to LA and then start working.
So Stephanie Block also played Elphaba.
And so, I mean, that's kind of interesting,
that the two of you are both portraying
Cher in the same show. Yeah, yeah.
And you both played Elphaba.
And so what do you think that is about playing
Elphaba and then playing Cher?
And Cher? Yeah.
Black hair. It's long, black hair.
That's basically what it is, I don't doubt.
I realize she grew up really feeling like an outcast,
and Cher says that her mom actually said this.
It was, you know, "You may not be the prettiest,
you may not be the smartest, you might not be
the most talented, but you are special,
and that means that you can be somebody."
And any person who's had success has faced adversity.
Yeah. Tragedy and feeling like I'm gonna give up.
Yeah. Have you ever felt like that?
For sure. Yeah.
Any specific moment when you thought,
"I'm done, this is -- I can't"? Yeah.
So my huge Broadway debut off of Broadway, "Wicked."
And then the revival of "Jekyll & Hyde" came along.
We were on the road for about six,
seven months before we came into Broadway.
So you were loving it. Yeah.
And then you came to New York and onto Broadway.
Then we came to New York, and we closed in six weeks.
And I was like, "Oh, my God!
Is this it? Am I done?"
And sometimes I would go on craigslist
to see what sort of odd jobs I could maybe pick up.
You know, you're starring in "The Cher Show" as Cher.
And you go on craigslist between your shows
to find odd jobs to pay the bills.
Yeah. It's so important that people understand this.
You have to know this. Mm-hmm.
Okay, we're moving on. Save. Save money.
Let's talk about the differences between
creating an original role,
which you did in "Finding Neverland." Mm-hmm.
Taking over a role that already exists,
like Elphaba in "Wicked." Yeah.
And now creating an original role
that is based on a real human being.
The problem with Cher, there's a lot of characters.
There are people that do incredible impersonations of her
that have made careers out of--
Vegas shows, they're doing Cher five times a night.
Nailing this impersonation of her.
Us three women who play Cher
aren't impersonators, we're actors.
So we want to get to the heart and the soul of who
Cher is while giving enough of the--
Paying homage to the real person.
Exactly. Like what was an example?
Oh. Well, like, like...
The way she talks.
The way she talks and the way she sings
and she, like, there's this sort of tongue thing,
which I don't even know exactly what it is.
I trying to do it, but I can't really do it.
Mmm. It's just, I don't know.
It's so good. It's just -- yeah.
I think it is the time right now that we go shopping.
I love shopping.
'Cause we need to get some looks on.
Let's get out of here and go shopping.
I love it! Girl, perfect. Okay, let's go.
So what was your audition like for "The Cher Show"?
As soon as I got the material,
the songs sort of fit in my voice,
and I love the songs that I had to sing for my audition.
You can tell you love them when you see you up there.
Oh, my God.
And Cher wasn't actually in the real room.
I was being filmed for her, and any--
So she had final approval?
She has final approval, and all of --
everybody else was really supportive
and seemed like they were really gunning for me.
And they just said Cher was a little on the fence.
So I went and bought a long black wig.
Scribner: No, you didn't! Yeah, I did.
The day before the final callback,
I put it on to run errands around town.
Just to, like, normalize it? Yeah, like that.
Whatever it takes. Yeah.
When you did get the role, you're gonna do "The Cher Show,"
what kind of research did you do for the part?
A lot of YouTube. Uh-huh.
There's a lot of YouTube videos.
It's a great resource. Oh, my gosh!
I mean, what did people do before the Internet
in the industry before it was created?
Books, I guess, I don't know.
Books and libraries. Yeah.
But there's so many videos, interviews with Cher,
concerts of Cher, Cher's music videos.
And then so much of "Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,"
which is a big part of my character's storytelling.
That's the point in her life that you play a lot of, yeah.
Yeah. And so watching the "Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour"
was so amazing,
because I really got a sense of Cher's sense of comedy
and Cher's just dry, super just flat sense of humor
just somehow, like, really just zinged right through the TV
and right through all of that, too.
And Sonny really had a short fuse with Cher, didn't he?
He did have -- he had a short fuse.
That's for sure.
I think it's time for some new duds.
Let's go. Let's go!
Boom, this way.
Shopping! Shopping, shopping!
Okay, so what are we shopping for today?
What are we...
I'm doing -- I have a photo shoot coming up.
You probably have photo shoots all the time.
I do. Some have been very, like,
Cher specific for "The Cher Show,"
but this is one where I get to kind of
just come and dress up, like, for myself.
Ooh. You know what I love?
These green and white stripped pants,
'cause I feel like it's a wide leg.
It's a wide leg. The color's right.
It's very Cher. She would have worn this in the '70s.
Do you feel like wearing all these amazing
Bob Mackie clothes and playing Cher and wearing
Cher's clothes has influenced your own personal style?
Like, this is normal?
Like, this color palette, this is subtle.
♪ I got you to kiss goodnight
♪ I got you to hold me tight
♪ I got you to hold me close
♪ I got you to love me so
♪ I got you, babe
♪ I got you, babe
Teal Wicks. Yeah.
60 second sandwich. Okay, 60 seconds.
60 seconds on the clock.
You gotta answer as many questions as you can.
Are you ready? Yeah.
All right. Timer is going now!
Instagram user Richie Massachusa,
hey, asks nerve-racking to be
in costume fittings with Bob Mackie?
No, he's sweet and darling.
Two, Facebook's Carly Ornstein asks do you take your makeup off
between matinee and evening shows?
It depends on what I'm doing in between shows.
Three, Jason Cressman wants to know
if you plan your potty breaks during the show.
Yes, I can't pee any time in act I, only at intermission,
and there's one pee break in act II.
Oh, that's rough.
Four, Instagram's Allie Eds, dream co-star?
Dream co-star? Please say me.
Ooh, ooh. Garen.
Five, Sophia Selleck, two three plays or musicals?
Okay, I'm gonna say "The Ferryman,"
'cause I just saw it and I'm obsessed.
Okay. "The Wild Party" and "Carousel."
Love that. Quinn Wharton want to know
if humidity affects your voice and how?
Yes, I like it. It's good.
Moisture is nice on the chords.
Okay, seven, favorite role ever. 15 seconds left.
Oh, Jo in "The Ballad of Little Jo."
Look it up. Eight, superstitious?
Yes. Good luck charms?
Sometimes, yes. Rituals?
Yes, music. Music's great.
10 seconds left. Favorite "Wicked" memory?
Oh, I broke suitcases.
Oh, no. 10, advice for musical theater fans?
Two seconds left.
Oh, my gosh, if you love it, do it.
If you can do something else, do that.
Time's up! Way to go!
That was 10! You nailed it!
All right, we have to get you out of here
and get you back to the theater. Okay, bye.
It's time for show two.
So this is most of my costumers, and my dresser Julie is here.
She's gonna help show us some things.
Hi, Julie. Hey, I'm Garen.
Hi. Nice to meet you! Nice to meet you!
Thanks for showing us stuff. No problem.
See, she keeps me -- well, she sends me out
on stage not naked and keeps me standing.
That's important. 'Cause I would fall over.
I have a quick change that happens on stage
in the center of stage.
Julie and one other dresser come on stage slightly hidden,
but not fully hidden.
How do you get out there?
We just walk. They just walk.
Yeah. What do you have to do to the clothes
to keep them going eight times a week
and not have them fall apart and not smell bad?
Well, there's people here every day.
Yeah. Pressing clothes, steaming them.
We have a full-time beader and a full-time stitcher.
They work 40 hours a week.
Oh, my gosh. Just sewing the beads back on.
Gosh, this is what you do eight times a week.
Yeah. You gotta embody Cher up here.
Yeah. How does that materialize for you physically?
Well, she's very grounded, she's kind of hip-forward.
And also she has kind of like a bit of a broken wrist thingie.
All right. It's, like, not on the stage.
This happens all the time. Really?
I'll just be standing there, and all of a sudden,
I'll realize I'm like this.
And then I'm like, "Stop it. Let it go."
Listen, she's gonna be a part of you forever.
It's any show we do ends up becoming --
we keep the best of it. Yeah.
And we move through life
with that special thing that we get to take.
Okay, so here we are, sitting in the seats
at the Neil Simon Theatre,
looking up at what people see you do every night.
Yeah. Eight times a week, which is so incredible.
Thank you. Now, this is a show about Cher.
About Cher. Apparently.
Yeah. And she's involved.
She talked to me a lot about her relationship with Sonny.
Just such -- like, the gift that every actor needs.
Like, to be able to talk to your character, like,
I mean, my character is a real-life person.
And to be able to talk to her about the big emotional moment
that I have to play on stage
and to get her specific point of view about it.
She was working so hard that she wasn't having any fun.
There was no joy in what she was doing.
And her and Sonny, what was so wonderful
about their collaboration in the beginning
and what made them fall in love with each other
was the joy that they just -- they created together.
And it was gone.
And she was like, "What is this? What are we doing?"
And that was kind of how they dissolved.
I can't wait to see you up there again.
I know. I'm gonna come to the show a third time.
Okay, come to the show, but to do that,
I actually have to go and get ready now.
No, we're having so much fun. I gotta get in my Cher look.
Okay. This doesn't work.
Okay, so come up to my dressing room for a second.
Yes, let's do it.
All right, it's a journey. Do it.
♪ Do you believe in life after love? ♪
♪ After love, after love, after love? ♪
Look, the wallpaper, it's like Anthropologie!
Love it. I want a sofa like this.
So tell me about what you love in here.
What stuff? Oh, okay.
Well, I have a lot of fabulous -- my plants.
I love my plants. I'm new to being a plant person.
Hopefully I keep them all alive.
It's life, it's good. Really good.
I have a bunch of Cher sort of fan collecting things
that are happening up there, which is cute.
So you sit here, and you put your makeup on.
I put my makeup on.
You really -- it really transforms you.
Nice. 'Cause I can tell it's you,
but I'm also like, "That's Cher."
It's a lot. And I have to darken my eyebrows
and then a lot of contouring,
just 'cause Cher has these really great cheekbones.
She does. And I have a bit of cheekbones,
but not quite like Cher's.
So... No one does.
So I have to just, you know, really chisel it out.
Cut it out, contour. Chisel.
Yeah. Chisel, chisel, chisel.
So I gotta go get into Cher garb.
This isn't Cher. Oh, I'm having so much fun!
I know, but just come back and hang another time.
I will. Okay.
Thank you. You're amazing.
I'll see you next time. Yes.
Bye, Teal. Okay, bye.
See ya, cutie!
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