In 1977, Mego released Sonny & Cher’s Theatre in the Round, a playset featuring the popular entertainment duo.
Sonny Bono and Cher enjoyed solo successes in the music industry before headlining their variety shows together — The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour (1971 to 1974) and The Sonny & Cher Show (1976 to 1977). In 1976, Mego released the first of its toys based on the couple: the Sonny and Cher fashion dolls. The Cher doll became the best-selling doll of 1976 and Mego capitalized on the success by releasing additional toys featuring the pair, including Sonny & Cher’s Theatre in the Round playset the following year.
The set brought glamour and drama to playtime, allowing kids to pretend they were part of the Sonny and Cher variety show. Three unique cardboard backdrops were included: two were performance stages, one with an audience and the other with dramatic light-scaping. The third backdrop was illustrated to resemble the stars’ private dressing room. Once assembled on the round plastic base, the backdrops could be rotated to take the spotlight in play.
A complete playset included a piano and bench, handheld microphone with stand, television production camera with a peek-through lens, a three-legged stool, two spotlights, a vanity table with bench, backdrops for three unique theatre scenes, 24 stickers, and two double-sided inserts.
The Sonny and Cher dolls were sold separately along with a line of couture-forward outfits. This included ensembles for Cher named Dragon Lady, Electric Feathers, and Stepping Out. Sonny’s outfits included Space Prince, Gypsy King, and Private Eye. Bob Mackie, a celebrated fashion and costume designer, contributed to the line’s designs.
Sonny and Cher eventually parted ways as a real-life couple and entertainment duo. Cher flourished in the entertainment industry while Sonny moved on to politics. Mego pivoted to re-brand the Theatre in the Round playset to include only Cher’s name and likeness.
Sonny and Cher toys created by Mego are popular with collectors. For this reason, the toys and playsets can be hard to find, even through online marketplaces. Those wanting to own Theatre in the Round may have to be prepared to settle for a well-loved edition that may still stretch the budget.
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