When you google “Cher” + “Christmas” the first thing that comes up is a version of “Baby Please Come Home” by Cher featuring Rosie O’Donnell on a vocoder. It’s true, we don’t typically associate Cher with holiday songs, like we might do with Mariah Carey or Xtina. But who doesn’t adore Cher? And Christmas? So why not together?
But where the hell is Chad Michaels going to get all his material for Chad Michaels' All Star Christmas Cher? Get tickets here (they’re going fast), then read below for all the dish on the show.
Out: Hi Chad! It’s early in San Diego.
Chad Michaels: I do old lady hours. I’ve been up since 6 a.m.
What can you tell us about your show?
It’s Christmas with Cher! I’m packing up some low-down Cher numbers and heading for New York. I’ll try to gear my presentation around Christmas Cher stuff, which she hasn’t done a lot of, but I’ve scraped together some stuff.
I’ve had people give me all kinds of finds, and fans have given me random Cher songs over the years. And there are a few [Christmas] things in there. There’s a really funny song that Jimmy James did—he covered “Blue Christmas” as Cher—which is frigging hilarious, there’s an awesome little breakdown in the middle of the song where she’s talking to Chaz, which is really funny.
And then I love to throw in Cher live monologue which came from RuPaul’s Snatch Game. I’ve put this shtick together which people enjoy.
You doing Jimmy James doing Cher? So many layers!
Yes, it’s layered but it’s awesome. As an impersonator you work with what you can find, but onviously it’s a totally nod and tribute to Jimmy. A lot of the kids don’t know who Jimmy is, and they haven’t seen him perform or do his impersonation, so this keeps it alive and keeps history alive.
Do you remember the first time you did Cher?
The first time I did Cher was at a show in San Diego and my drag mother Hunter was fostering me, and really wanting to get me into the show on a regular basis. But you had to do a character—it was character and comedy—so he put me in Cher costume, turned me away from the mirror, and did my makeup—and ghen turned me around. It was booger, but it was awesome.It’s a journey I’ve been on—I started out really ugly—like that random “Cher” at local bar. That was me at the beginning.
I didn’t start out as a Cher fan—I wasn’t into Sonny and Cher growing up. My appreciation for her developed over time, but I’m not any kind of psycho fan. I don’t listen to Cher—like ever. I’m not a collector. I don’t have a lot of Cher records, which I’m really happy about. I’m really happy to have her in my professional career, but you have to have that separation. I see a lot of celebrity impersonations who cross over—and they’re that all the time. That’s never been my goal. That’s my job, but I leave it there. Over the last year, I’ve been really stepping back from it because you’re expected to do Cher every time you perform, and it loses its glimmer. I’ve been focusing on other aspects, and I’ve been feeling a little lighter, as it were.
OK let’s talk costumes.
Cher’s outfits are often themed by country. She’ll do African queen, Mongolian queen—we come up all kinds of fucked up names for the costumes. There are two costumes we laugh our ass off about. It was the Las Vegas Xoliseum show, and one for a cover of “Love is a Battlefield” she wore this glove on one hand—we called that outfit “welding glove.” The other one was a remake of one of her classic ’70s gowns with headpiece, with what looks like cascading grapes coming down the side of her head. That’s “Grapes of Wrath.” Delta Work is in all that. She’s had a major role in naming all of my costumes, because she’s such a fucking smartass.
Give me a hint about what we’ll see. Do you make your own costumes?
I’ve always done my own stuff, just because there’s just no way to buy of the rack for what I do! I do a lot of sewing myself, and my partner Adam Magee is a designer and he’s done my stuff and stuff for my show Dreamgirls in California—and I’m bringing my big stuff, the real showstoppers for the event. It’s a little bit of old, and little bit of new, and trying to tailor to the holiday theme—it’s not brain surgery, it really isn’t. You’re going to see one we call “The Snow Queen.”
Did you always use a “boy” name for drag?
I started out as Bridget Love, and that was cute and everything, but I never identified with that name and I didn’t like being called Bridget. I can’t explain why, I just didn't identify with having a fictitious name as a performer. When I went to Vegas for La Cage they required male name at end. After that I dropped Bridget. I don’t have this drag persona when I’m in drag. I don’t slip into into another persona. What you see is what you get. Jimmy James, James St James—a lot of people just go with [a boy name], and thank God I did, cuz Facebook never fucked with me over it. It’s just an individual choice. Some girls love it, some girls just love who they are. Willam is just Willam, for instance, so it was just a no-brainer for Willam to be Willam.
What’s this about Mimi Imfurst DJing?
I haven’t seen Mimi since our lip sync on All Stars. What a reunion it will be!
Chad Michaels' All Star Christmas Cher by Voss Events is Friday, December 18, at 9:00 pm at Liberty Theater in New York, and features Chad as Cher, and Ru Paul’s Drag Race all stars Adore Delano, Courtney Act, Detox, Ginger Minj, Manila Luzon, Milk, Pandora Boxx, Raven, and Willam, and Christmas Carols with DJ Mimi Imfurst.