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April 7, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 14
 
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Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019

 

 



 
Chita Rivera sparkles on Broadway
Chita Rivera sparkles on Broadway
by E. Joyce Glasgow - SGN A&E Writer

"Chita Rivera-The Dancer's Life" spotlights the dancer at The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45 St., in New York with a script by seasoned playwright Terrence McNally.

What a treat to see Rivera, who at 74, encapsulates a whole history of American Musical Theatre - a living, dancing, singing, acting record of great Broadway musicals. Chita Rivera has been a performing professionally for so long that grace, charm, ease, dynamism and poise simply exude out of her - all imprinted on her DNA.

Winner of two Tony Awards, she received the Kennedy Center Honor in Washington D.C. in 2002. Star of the original production of "West Side Story" in 1957 (she played the great role of "Anita"), "Chicago" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman," to name just three of her numerous theatrical triumphs. In "Chita Rivera-The Dancer's Life," Rivera leads the audience on a journey from her childhood to the present through dance, song and narration.

You would never know that Rivera had a leg injury in an auto accident in the late eighties. Her legs are as slim, shapely and flexible as ever. Her Tango dance with fantastically sensual and passionate partner, Richard Amaro, is one of the best, most natural, interpretations of the Tango I've seen. It also really wowed the audience.

About half of her dancers are middle-aged and are also a real treat to watch dance. All those years of experience have fine tuned them into having incredible panache and being able to express even the subtlest of moves with exquisite elegance. There is such admiration, mutual respect and love between Rivera and her dancers. I saw Richard Montoya, one of her best dancers (somewhere in his forties), outside and I commented on how much admiration I witnessed between he and Rivera, to which he replied that he had known Rivera since he was fourteen years old.

Rivera's orchestra is very full and plays great jazzy orchestrations.

You must see Chita Rivera when in New York and if you want to meet her or take a picture, she graciously makes time to greet her fans, tirelessly, after every performance, outside the stage door. What a woman!

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