“West Side Story” as performed entirely by Cher?

by Kelly Ann McGuinness

Yes, you read that right. With the recent remakes of West Side Story occurring people have been remembering older productions of this beloved story. For those who do not know West Side Story, it is a full-length musical based on Romeo and Juliet. Above all, it is mainly the 1961 film adaptation that people are remembering. However, there is another iconic and unforgettable production. This other production is done by none other than the goddess herself: Cher.

How did this happen?

This production produced by Cher is a 12-minute version of the 2 and a half-hour show. The catch is all the parts are played by…Cher. Yes, all of the parts. The production premiered on Cher…… Special. This hour-long special aired in 1978. It featured Cher, Dolly Parton, Rod Stewart, and The Tubes.

“Act 1” of West Side Story

Warning: Spoilers for West Side Story below

This medley of West Side Story opens with an introduction by Cher letting us know right away that she “Will be playing all the parts.” It then starts with not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 versions of Cher spliced together on screen dressed as all the Jets in varying jackets and wigs. She opens with her fully choreographed rendition of “Jet Song” then with a 70s TV transition becomes the leading man of our journey. She flawlessly sings “Something’s Coming” and then switches from leading man to the leading lady singing “I Feel Pretty.” We then get the quadrupole Cher’s back as they sing “Rumble.” Except for a surprise! There is now a 5th Cher. Through the magic of more editing, they spliced the screens to show the rivals in the show. We see all these characters plus Anita come “together” to sing “Tonight.”

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“Act 2” of West Side Story

We have now seen 8 versions of Cher. and have hit the half-way point. Following the epic ensemble number, we cut to a dead Bernardo. Next, we see Cher lecturing herself through the song “A Boy Like That” and “I Have a Love.” There is a short scene done with shadows and the piece ends with Cher back as the leading lady singing “Somewhere.”

Wow

Wow. This rendition of West Side Story is truly like nothing I have ever seen before. I highly advise everyone to take the 12 minutes out of your day to watch this video. While it is hilarious it is also incredibly well done. The editing and details are impressive especially considering the technology of the time. Thank you Cher for this gift and for giving us West Side Story as performed entirely by you in under 13 minutes.


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