C is for Chita Rivera: A YouTube compilation of her Broadway career

Chita Rivera, born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero, has a Broadway career going back 70 years, to the original “Guys and Dolls,” where she was a dancer. Luckily, she has re-created the numbers in some of the earliest of her 18 shows in various concert performances, TV broadcasts, and her 2005 autobiographical show on Broadway “Chita Rivera The Dancer’s Life”
Let’s start with her on the Judy Garland Show – by which time she had already performed in seven Broadway shows, including starring roles in West Side Story and Bye, Bye Birdie

Check out the rest of the Broadway Alphabet Series

Seventh Heaven, 1955, Music by Victor Young; Lyrics by Stella Unger; Book by Victor Wolfson and Stella Unger;
Camille, Collette, Fifi

West Side Story, 1957, Book by Arthur Laurents; Conceived by Jerome Robbins; Music by Leonard Bernstein; Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Chita Rivera performs “America” from West Side Story (and also “All That Jazz” from Chicago) on the 1982 TV special “Broadway Plays Washington” on Kennedy Center Tonight

Bye, Bye Birdie, 1960, Book by Michael Stewart; Music by Charles Strouse; Lyrics by Lee Adams;

“Spanish Rose” on the Ed Sullivan Show

Bajour, 1964. Book by Ernest Kinoy; Music by Walter Marks; Lyrics by Walter Marks; Based on “New Yorker” stories by Joseph Mitchell.

Chicago, 1975. By John Kander and Fred Ebb with a book (and direction) by Bob Fosse
She performs “All That Jazz” on the Merv Griffin Show in 1980, three years after the original production of Chicago closed on Broadway. (The revival, in 1996, is now the second-longest running show on Broadway)

Nowadays, in The Dancer’s Life, alongside an empty spotlight representing her “killer diller” dance partner in the original, Gwen Verdon.

The Rink, 1984. Book by Terrence McNally; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Rivera won her first Tony Award for her performance as Liza Minnelli (who was also nominated in the same category, Best Actress in a Musical)

Kiss of the Spiderwoman, 1993. Book by Terrence McNally; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb.

Rivera won her second Tony for her performance in the title role

Nine, 2004. Book by Arthur Kopit; Music by Maury Yeston

The Mystery of Edwin Drood, 2012. By Rupert Holmes, based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens.

The Visit, 2015. Book by Terrence McNally; Music by John Kander; Lyrics by Fred Ebb; Based on the play byFriedrich Duerrenmatt

Accepting lifetime achievement Tony, 2019

In Lockdown on The Rosie O’Donnell Show, 2020

At the Stars in the House with James Wesley and Seth Rudetsky (April 19)

Author: 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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