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Chita Theater – Chita Rivera, 60 Years on Broadway

Chita Rivera, who turns 82 on January 23, will star on Broadway once again as the richest woman in the world who returns to her hometown set on revenge in “The Visit,” the last Kander-Ebb collaboration, which opens at the Lyceum on April 23, 2015.
It is the latest role in a remarkable Broadway career that goes back more than 60 years and includes 16 previous productions, several of them landmark American musicals. Chita Rivera originated the roles of:
Anita in the original 1957 Broadway production of West Side Story
Rose in the original 1960 Broadway production of Bye, Bye Birdie
Velma Kelly in the original 1975 Broadway production of Chicago
The title role in Kiss of the Spider Woman, 1993

And now, as Claire Zachanassian in “The Visit”, co-starring Roger Rees, directed by John Doyle, choreographed by Graciela Daniele, with a book by Terrence McNally.

 Click on any photograph to see it enlarged

Born Conchita Del Rivero Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in Washington, D.C in 1933, Chita Rivera has been nominated for nine Tonys and won two, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

An interview with her in the Times that accompanied the announcement of the Broadway production of “The Visit” included tentative reflections, as the interviewer put it, on whether the play will be her swan song:

“I think this character is right in time with who I am, and how old I am, and my maturity and my life in the theater… Will this be – it doesn’t feel like it – but is the universe painting a picture for me? I’m wondering, is this going to be sort of like – no, I’m not going to say it. I feel like I’ve been given a gift with this show, and when you’re given a gift, you really respect it.”

Chita Rivera and Roger Rees.
Chita Rivera and Roger Rees.Credit Bruce Glikas

Career highlights:

Call Me Madam…. Principal Dancer
Guys and Dolls…. Principal Dancer
Can-Can
Shoestring Revue…. Principal Dancer
Seventh Heaven….Fifi
Mr. Wonderful…. Rita Romano
West Side Story…. Anita
Bye Bye Birdie…. Rosie Alvarez
Prisoner of Zenda …. Athena
Bajour…. Anyanka
Flower Drum Song…. Linda Low
The Rose Tattoo Threepenny Opera…. Jenny
Sweet Charity…. Charity Hope Valentine
Zorba the Greek…. Zorba
1491…. Beatriz
Kiss Me Kate
Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris… Carousel
Born Yesterday…. Billie Dawn
Chicago…. Velma Kelly
Bring Back Birdie…. Rose Grant
Merlin: The Magical Musical…. The Queen
The Rink…. Anna
Jerry’s Girls….Chita Rivera
Kiss of the Spider Woman…. Aurora
Chita & All That Jazz
Anything Goes…. Reno Sweeney
Casper: The Friendly Musical…. Magdalena Monteverde
Venecia…. La Vieja
House of Bernarda Alba…. Bernarda Alba
Nine the Musical…. Liliane La Fleur
Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life….

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About New York Theater
Jonathan Mandell is a 3rd generation NYC journalist, who sees shows, reads plays, writes reviews and sometimes talks with people.

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