When it comes to Cher, where do you start? She’s CHER. She doesn’t need an introduction — in fact, it’s more than probable that you’ve just started singing one of her songs in your head. The Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Golden Globe winner is bringing her latest show, “Classic Cher,” to the new Theater at MGM National Harbor for two six-date residencies next spring and summer. (Her 2017 schedule also includes residencies at the Monte Carlo in Las Vegas.) She will sing hits, she will wear spangles — and she will be nervous.
What can you tell me about the show?
I want to do all the songs that people would be sad if they came to see me and I didn’t. So it’s not going to be exciting in the actual songs; it’s mostly hits. I think that what we’re going to try and do is to find different ways to show them and bring back some of my favorite ways that we did it. “Classic Cher,” though — I don’t like the title too much. It feels a little arrogant, I think.
What are some of the songs you know you have to include?
“Turn Back Time” and “Believe” and “I Found Someone” — those are songs that people just really get up and dance to. But they like the ballads, too — “Half-Breed” and those kinds of songs. It’s pretty much a show in itself just to get all the stuff in.
Do you ever look back to when things were a little simpler and miss it?
I miss it completely. I hate that there is no such thing as freedom, and if you step out the door everyone’s got a camera and people can be very, very unkind. I don’t know what happened, but I remember when I lived in New York and I felt so free to just walk around any old way and nobody bothered you and nobody cared what you looked like, and in Malibu it used to be the same thing. Now there’s no place where you can go where you don’t have to think about who’s going to be around.
Does it ever make you nervous that you’ve got to live up to some pretty high expectations when you perform?
I’m shaky before I go on. Once I go on, I know that I’m there to provide service, in a strange way. I’m there to make people happy. That’s my job.
You still get shaky? That surprises me. I mean … you’re Cher.
Oh, Jesus, I want to run. I always think, “I want my mother.”
Is that something you’ve always had to deal with?
Oh, God, yes. The first time I had to go onstage, Sonny [Bono] had to push me on the stage. He pushed me. I said, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it,” and he said, “OK, you don’t have to do it.” I relaxed, and he just pushed me right out onstage.
Once you get out there, when do you relax?
I probably relax when I start talking to the audience and we connect. Then the show just starts again and it’s like a bat out of hell and it just keeps going. After that it goes fine until the end.
Theater at MGM National Harbor, 7100 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, Md.; March 17, 19, 20, 23, 25 & 26, Aug. 31, Sept. 2, 3, 7, 9 & 10, $120-$360.
More about the MGM National Harbor
MGM National Harbor opens tonight. Here’s everything you need to know before you go.