Cyndi Lauper will be here to make sure Las Vegas starts and ends its summer on the right Cyndi Lauper note. In between? We’re kind of on our own.
The 60-year-old star answered email questions to talk about this weekend’s tour stop with Cher, her late-summer return to supervise the tour launch of her Broadway hit “Kinky Boots,” and the 30th anniversary of her MTV breakout album “She’s So Unusual.”
Q: So I saw you and Cher in the same MGM arena in 1999. There must be a lot of other “deja vu” revisits of the same arenas on this tour. Is it a strange feeling to do this all again? You both still look the same, right? So in what other ways has it changed?
A: There are a lot of anniversaries going on! So I am having a lot of deja vu. I just released the 30th-anniversary (reissue) of “She’s So Unusual,” and going back and listening to that record, and finding the demos and listening again was like being transported back in time. And that was a strange feeling. Great, but strange.
It’s great to be out with Cher again. We have so much fun together, so it just feels like we picked up where we left off. Not so much deja vu, but a great sense of familiarity mixed up with lot of warmth like a family reunion. Doesn’t feel strange. Feels joyful!
Q: Of course you’ve played Las Vegas many times since, from our “beach” stage at Mandalay Bay to a co-bill with Meat Loaf back in ’03. Since he’s now doing a lot of shows here (with a “VH1 Storytellers”-type format) how would you feel about something like that? Too busy with more cool “Kinky Boots” kinds of projects? Or waiting to be asked?
A: I play Las Vegas almost every time I put a tour out. I think the last time was when I was on tour with my “Memphis Blues” CD (her 2010 blues outing). It’s always a good crowd in Las Vegas because people are there to have a good time.
I was asked to do that series (“Rocktellz &Cocktails”) but it’s just not a good time for me. I would like to do a Vegas residency sometime, though. Not a “Storytellers” format, but a show with production.
And you are right, now is just not a good time anyway. We are launching our first national tour of “Kinky Boots” (which launches at The Smith Center Sept. 4). I finish with Cher on July 11 and jump right into … rehearsals in NYC. Then we all head to Las Vegas and do rehearsals there before opening night.
Q: Does it seem oddly appropriate to you to kick it off here in Vegas?
A: Vegas is the perfect town. The message of “Kinky Boots” is just be who ya wanna be. Celebrate your life and who you are and that certainly is what Las Vegas shouts to those who visit there.
Q: And how does it feel to sing some of the songs from the show on the Cher tour? Did it feel strange not to be onstage in the Broadway show and somehow like “scratchin’ an itch” to sing a few of the songs yourself?
A: I perform “Sex Is in the Heel” on this tour. That was one of the first songs I wrote for the show. I actually recorded it and released it the summer before the show opened in Chicago to help promote the fact the show was opening. So it’s not strange at all for me to sing that song because I actually did record that one.
I sometimes sing an a cappella version of “Not My Father’s Son” so I can explain to the audience at the Cher shows what “Kinky Boots” is. I love being the songwriter and having others sing. Of course I love to sing, but these songs were written for “Kinky Boots” and so I don’t think of it that way.
Q: Any thoughts on 30 years since “She’s so Unusual”? The prevailing concert-industry trend/gimmick is to perform a signature album start-to-finish. Sounds like you so far have been able to resist that?
A: I actually did that this past summer LOL! My fans had been asking me to do it for years. My main core fans were so excited and how better to say thank you for 30 years of support. I say live and let live.
Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0288.
Cher, Cyndi Lauper
8 p.m. Sunday
MGM Grand Garden, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South