If you are a musical theater buff then you definitely know the work of the legendary Broadway, Film and Television star Chita Rivera. If not, then you must continue reading. Her list of Broadway hits is lengthy but a few include appearing in Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Mr. Wonderful starring Sammy Davis Jr., Bye Bye Birdie and starring in Sweet Charity by Bob Fosse, Chicago directed by Fosse, Kander and Ebb musical The Rink with Liza Minnelli, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit based on a book by Terrence McNally, to name only a few. Rivera originated the role of Anita in West Side Story and Velma Kelly in Chicago. This extraordinary woman, dancer, singer, actress, ten-time Tony Award nominee and a three-time Tony Award recipient will be appearing in Chita: The Rhythm of My Life at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 2:00pm. Tickets are on sale HERE and I suggest that you reserve your seats now.
Rivera was born in Washington, D.C. to a Puerto Rican father and a mother who was of Scottish and Italian descent. She began her dance training at the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet (now the Jones Haywood School of Dance) and at the young age of 15 was accepted into George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet in New York City. In 1951, she made her Broadway debut as a principal in Call Me Madam starring Elaine Stritch. It did not take long for Rivera to be known as a sensational triple-threat. She went on to become one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history with 10 nominations, two wins (The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman) and in 2018 Rivera received the coveted Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre.
In Chita: The Rhythm of My Life, Rivera will recreate “signature moments from her legendary Broadway career from West Side Story, Sweet Charity and Bye Bye Birdie to Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Visit and more. In addition to a tribute to her dear friends John Kander & Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse & Lee Adams, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured, accompanied by her long-time trio. Her Special Guests will be announced at a later date.” – Segerstrom Center press release
Rivera’s most recent starring roles include the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood; the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele and the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas. Rivera performed her solo concert at London’s Cadogan Hall; in 2018 she was honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy; in 2016 she headlined at Carnegie Hall and in 2015, Great Performances aired their special Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ To Do, a retrospective of her extraordinary life and career nationally on PBS. Her current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing.
Rivera received the much desired Kennedy Center Honor in 2002 and in 2009, President Barak Obama awarded Rivera with The Presidential Medal of Freedom.
WHAT: Chita Rivera in Chita: The Rhythm of My Life
WHERE: Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall
WHEN: Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 2:00 PM
TICKETS: Single tickets for CHITA RIVERA in CHITA THE RHYTHM OF MY LIFE at Segerstrom Center for the Arts start at $39 and are now available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Chita Rivera – Photo by Laura Marie Duncan, courtesy of Segerstrom Center for the Arts.