weather icon Partly Cloudy

Future uncertain for Cher after Caesars run

"I always say this — it’s kind of dumb — but the show is good. It’s just fun. It goes all the way back to the old ‘Sonny & Cher Show’ days and then just to me, old Cher." — Cher, from her opening monologue Tuesday night.

In the few months since Cher was last in town, she had a new movie in theaters, her first in more than a decade.

"Burlesque" put her on the cover of Vanity Fair and back on the promotional circuit.

But the movie bombed, and its soundtrack peaked at No. 18. Though it still lingers on a few multiplex screens, no reference is made to it in the show.

Does it matter? Not one iota.

"She’s such a classic icon that even if she never did anything new, I think she would retain her level of stardom," says Steven Wayne, who imitates Cher every night across the street from Caesars Palace, in the "Divas Las Vegas" drag revue at the Imperial Palace.

"I feel like a bumper car. If I hit a wall, I’m backing up and going in another direction," Cher said in that Vanity Fair interview (Cher declined a Review-Journal interview request). "But I’m not stopping. I think maybe that’s my best quality: I just don’t stop."

Time will tell if at least the Las Vegas part of her career stops after the last Colosseum show on Feb. 5. Could she really be done?

Or, if after heading her car in a different direction, will she come back to a town that’s seen her off and on — with and without Sonny, during career peaks and valleys, young and 64 — since 1969?

You are only promised four more weeks.

"There’s this sub-group (of men in the audience). They’re just kind of sitting there like, ‘If you’ve got it, bring it. If you don’t, go home.’ During the day, they’ve said to their wives or their girlfriends, ‘All right. I’m gonna take you to see the naked old bitch, and then I’m gambling.’ "

Cher said (again in Vanity Fair) that she misses the arenas. Las Vegas can offer a performer convenience and more stagecraft than can be easily packed into trucks.

What this tourist melting pot can’t guarantee is audience fervor. "The fans are just different," says Jaymz Tuaileva, one of her Colosseum dancers. "I feel like on tour, the fans are probably a lot more energetic, in an arena with a concert vibe."

But in all other aspects, it’s hard to say which influenced the other more: Cher or Vegas? Certainly they have a literal bond in Bob Mackie, who dressed an earlier generation of showroom divas (Mitzi Gaynor, Barbara Eden) and still has showgirl outfits on display in "Jubilee!"

If she is indeed done with Vegas, she’s earned the right to walk away. But who’s ready to believe that?

"This woman comes running after me (from a bathroom at a wedding): ‘Wait, wait, do you have a card?… You are the best I have ever seen.’ "

"I’ve been thankful that of all the people I could look like, it’s been Cher all these years," says Wayne, who gave up his job as a North Carolina kindergarten teacher and moved to Las Vegas to join "An Evening at La Cage" in 1999. "Pretty good job security."

Wayne counts 21 years as Cher, less than half of Cher’s own years in the role, counting back to the summer of ’65 when Sonny & Cher’s "I Got You Babe" hit No. 1 on the pop chart.

He has seen Cher at the Colosseum 10 times and plans to at least once more during this run. After all, tickets for him are a tax deduction. Research, you know.

"With all the Botox, her face moves a little less than it used to," he says. "I’m a fan of Botox myself. I’ve been told the only thing that moves on my face is my mouth."

"I have to stop talking so I can start the show and put on 5,000 costumes. But let me tell you something. Once I get going, I am a bat out of hell. You’re gonna say, ‘My God, she’s so old, but she’s so cute.’ "

"She’s like a big Barbie doll," Wayne says. "It’s so easy for her I think. She puts her classic costumes on and comes out and just wows the crowd. It’s not like she’s working up a sweat. … She walks around in that feather headdress like it’s a bathrobe."

"She doesn’t show like a big drag queen. She doesn’t prance around. … And that makes her very endearing to the audience," Mackie noted in 2008.

Tuaileva remembers "I was so nervous, and she was so nice" the day the cast met Cher, to film the "Laverne" video for the show. At 24, he’s the youngest of the 18 dancers, meaning he was 2 when "I Found Someone" marked Cher’s pop comeback in 1988 after turning legitimate in the movies.

Now it seems almost normal when cast and star huddle for a nightly prayer circle before the show. Or when Cher takes part in an occasional cast and crew bingo night — complete with a professional caller — in the theater seats after a show.

"She tries to be as normal as I guess Cher could be," Tuaileva says. "How regular can you be when you’re Cher?"

As normal as any person who takes a Gulfstream V to work, perhaps. Still, here’s a star who rides in on a chariot decked out as a Mayan priestess and then talks to you like a normal person for nearly 10 minutes.

"I don’t need you anymore," Cher sings during the show’s big finale in her silver boots and a red heart over her left breast. "I don’t need you anymore," she repeats.

We’ll see about that.

Contact reporter Mike Weatherford at mweatherford@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0288.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)