INDEX of NEWS

See the News Archive Section for past events.

Chita interviewed in PBS Jerome Robbins special
Chita Attends Drama League Gala
Boston Youth Moves to Honor Chita
West Side reunion at Gypsy of the Year
George Hearn to star opposite Chita in The Visit
Chita adds second Birdland benefit concert
Chita postponed in London
Chita to Narrate Epcot Christmas

Chita helps Westport Salute Kander & Ebb
Chita at Feinstein's in New York
Chita's 2008 Calendar
Chita on Triple Sensation
Chita's Touring Schedule
Chita Triumphs in Cleveland
Chita in An Evening of Latin Rhythms
The Chicago Anniversary -- Bruce Glikas Photos
Chita to Join Chicago Anniversary
Chita Wows Australia
THE VISIT at Signature Theatre in DC, 2007
Chita to Receive Rolex Dance Award, Oct. 23, 2006
Chita to be honored at New Dramatists' Luncheon
Chita attends Cleveland Announcement
Kalamazoo opens: film stars Chita, Bloom, and Taylor
Chita's teacher, Miss Jones, dies at 92
Antonio Banderas Gives Chita Credit
Chita to present at Theater Hall of Fame
"America" Being Added to The Dancer's Life
Chita to Add Wednesday Night Performances
Transit Strike Can't Stop Chita
Chita's "Dazzling Opening"
Chita on National Public Radio
Chita's New York Times Review
Rosie Blogs Chita
Chita Presents Fred Ebb Award
Chita's Newsday Interview

The new PBS American Masters special, Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About features an interview with Chita.

Chita was among the stars who attended the Drama League's 25th annual gala, A Musical Celebration on Broadway at the Rainbow Room on Monday, February 2, 2009.

Boston Youth Moves to honor Chita
Boston Youth Moves will honor Chita at their Saturday evening, March 8, 2008 black-tie gala, “Swellegance,” at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton Street, in Boston’s fashionable Back Bay.  The announcement reads that “In recognition of her body of work, her passion and commitment to dance and to young people, Ms. Rivera will be the 2008 Boston Youth Moves Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.”  Chita has served as an honorary member of the Boston Youth Moves Board of Directors for the past six years and remains a cherished and much-loved member of our BYM family. 

Boston Youth Moves is a non-profit, arts education organization whose mission is to encourage young people, through training in the art of dance, to explore their limitless potential for artistic expression and realize personal success.  For more information about the gala or about “Boston Youth Moves,” contact (617) 523-1355 or email office@bostonyouthmoves.org.  Information about the organization can also be seen on their website at www.bostonyouthmoves.org

WEST SIDE 50TH ANNIVERSARY REUNION
The 50th Anniversary of West Side Story was the theme of the 2007 Gypsy of the Year fundraiser Dec. 17-18, 2007. More than two-dozen original cast members participated, including Carol Lawrence, the original Maria; and Chita Rivera, the original Anita, who received with standing ovations.

Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA has announced that George Hearn will join Chita in their production of the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical The Visit, May 13-June 22, 2008. The production will be directed by Frank Galati, with choreography by Ann Reinking who also guided the original production at Chicago's Goodman Theatre, where John McMartin starred opposite Chita.

Based on the play by Freidrich Durenmatt, The Visit tells of Claire Zachanassian (Chita), the richest woman in the world, who returns to the now-poor hometown she left in disgrace and offers the townspeople a fortune if they will kill her former lover (Hearn).

Broadwayworld.com reports that "following an almost-rabid rush for tickets to acclaimed superstar Chita Rivera's January 14 Birdland benefit concert "CHITA LOVES BROADWAY CARES," a second, later show has just been added, at 10:00pm. Both can’t-miss shows, part of the long-running, critically-heralded concert series Broadway at Birdland, will donate 100% of proceeds to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, the nation's leading industry-based, not-for-profit AIDS fundraising and grant making organization."

CHITA'S WEST END ENGAGEMENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED.

Statement from Chita: 

August 15, 2007

“I am very disappointed that my return to the West End in September has been postponed.  I want all my fans in the UK to know that this was not my choice and beyond my control.  I was so looking forward to returning to London, a city I adore, and I certainly hope that another date can be arranged in the near future.  See you soon.”

Cheers and love,

Chita

Chita was scheduled to appear at Wyndham's Theatre, in London accompanied by conductor David Krane, performing a show called Chita Sings, featuring numerous songs that she introduced on Broadway, including "A Boy Like That" from West Side Story, and "All That Jazz," "Nowadays" and "Class" from Chicago.

CHITA TO NARRATE CHRISTMAS PROCESSION AT DISNEY'S EPCOT
Chita will again appear as one of the celebrity narrators at the Disney Christmas Candlelight Procession at Epcot Center at Walt Disney World in Orlando this year. She will read the Christmas story, backed by a choir and a 50-piece orchestra, December 11-13, 2007. The event is held at the America Gardens Theatre, and performances take palce at 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. The only way to guarantee seating is to purchase a Candlelight Processional dining package, which includes dinner at one of Epcot's restaurants and a seat for the show.  This ticket is in addition to park admission.

CHITA HELPS WESTPORT SALUTE KANDER & EBB
Chita will headline an all-star Broadway cast when the Westport Country Playhouse holds a gala evening in honor of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb on September 24, 2007. The evening is entitled Everybody Loves a Winner and will also feature the talents of Shuler Hensley, Debra Monk, James Naughton, Bebe Neuwirth, David Hyde Pierce, Ben Vereen and Karen Ziemba. Peter Flynn directs the event with musical direction by Mary-Mitchell Campbell. The event benefits the Westport Country Playhouse, and will include a private cocktail and dinner reception for benefactors with guest of honor John Kander and the evening's stars. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. Benefit tickets are $2,000 and $1,000 for the cocktail party, performance and dinner. $500 for the cocktail party and performance only. Reservations are limited by the intimate size of the theatre, and can be made by contacting the Westport Country Playhouse at (203) 227-5137, ext. 138. For further information on Westport's season visit www.westportplayhouse.org.

Chita will open at Feinstein's on November 6, 2007 and will play until November 24, 2007. Details are forthcoming.

CHITA'S PERFORMANCE CALENDAR FOR 2008 INCLUDES:
 
March 14, 2008 -- Eissey Centre; Palm Beach, Florida
 
March 15, 2008 -- Florida Atlantic University; Boca Raton, Florida
 
April 13, 2008 -- Queen's Performing Arts Centre; Queens, New York

May 13 - June 29, 2008 -- The Visit by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally; Signature Theatre Arlington Virginia.


Chita recently conducted a master class for contestants on Garth Drabinky's Canadian television show, Triple Sensation, due to debut on October 7, 2007 on CBC-TV at 8 p.m.. The show is an American Idol-style "nation-wide search for Canada's most talented young actor/singer/dancers." Drabinsky produced Kiss of the Spider Woman, which had its world premiere in Toronto.

The successful national tour of Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life concluded on June 10, 2007 after being received enthusiastically in every single city. At her final curtain call in Norfolk, Virginia, Chita praised "the best orchestra ever to tour" under the direction of Gordon Twist, kissed each of her dancers and invited her entire crew onstage to take a bow.She then urged the Norfolk audience to continue to support musical theater at Chrysler Hall, "because the theater is all about family." The city of Norfolk took over as producer of the popular Broadway series at Chrysler Hall, saving the day after the original producer, BACI Management, disappeared, leaving ticket holders in the lurch. Chita filled the bill, giving Norfolk a taste of genuine Broadway history and her own legendary magic.


Chita at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre (left) and at Broadway's Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (right).

CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCER'S LIFE

Chita will be making her way across the country! Dates announced for Chita's 2007 tour so far:

Aronoff Theatre in Cincinnati, OH (Dec. 19-31)
Miami PAC in Miami, FL (Jan. 2-7, 2007)
Merriam Theater in Philadelphia, PA (Jan. 9–14)
Palace Theater in Cleveland, OH (Feb. 13–25)
Paramount Theater in Seattle, WA (Feb. 27–March 4)
Gammage Theater in Tempe, AZ (March 13–18)
Orange County PAC in Costa Mesa, CA (March 20-25)
Mann Auditorium in Fort Myers, FL (April 10 – 15)
Kravis Auditorium in West Palm Beach, FL (April 17–22)
Colonial Theater in Boston, MA (May 1–13)
Providence PAC in Providence, RI (May 15–20)
Uihlein Theater in Milwaukee, WI (May 22–27)
Shea’s PAC in Buffalo, NY (May 29–June 3)
Scope Arena in Norfolk, VA (June 5– 10)

Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life is a tour through landmark creations in the American theatre that were helmed by some of the greatest talents in its history, including Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Fosse, Peter Gennaro, Gower Champion, and Michael Kidd. The show features numbers from such Chita hits as West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, as well as new songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life

Book by Terrence McNally
Directed and Choreographed by Graciela Daniele
Scenic Design Loy Arcenas  
Costume Design Toni Leslie James  
Lighting Design Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer  
Sound Design Scott Lehrer  
Musical Direction Mark Hummel  
Stage Manager Arturo Porazzi

ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST:
Chita Rivera
Young Chita , Liana Ortiz
Ensemble: Richard Amaro, Cleve Asbury, Lloyd Culbreath, Madeleine Kelly, Malinda Farrington, Edgard Gallardo, Deirdre Goodwin, Richard Montoya, Lainie Sakakura, Alex Sanchez, Allyson Tucker
Young Chita Understudy, Jasmine Perri

NATIONAL TOURING COMPANY CAST:
The dance ensemble for the touring company of Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life includes Richard Amaro, Lloyd Culbreath, and Richard Montoya from the Broadway company as well as Raymond Del Barrio, Carolyn Doherty, Pascale Faye, Ramon Flowers, April L. Nixon and Jennifer Savelli. Chita's daughter, Lisa Mordente, serves as dance captain and is the swing for the female ensemble.

CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER REVIEW
Chita has always liked playing Cleveland, Ohio, where audiences are knowlegable and loyal to the theater. When heavy snow greeted her opening night this week, patrons who braved the elements were rewarded when Chita gave a full out performance for an unexpectedly intimate gathering. Plain Dealer Theater Critic Tony Brown chronicled the event in his review, entitled, Chita pulls out the stops for the lucky few:Chita
pulls out the stops for the lucky few

Review: "Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life"
Palace Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland
Tuesday, Feb. 13
By Tony Brown
Plain Dealer Theater Critic

What if they gave a show and (almost) nobody came?

In the case of “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life,” the star — a revered legend who’s still hoofing it and belting it after more than 55 years that define the era’s show business — would do the entire 105-minute show as if the whole wide world was watching.

And those lucky enough to witness it would be talking about the experience until they were well past Rivera’s 74 years.

This is no hypothetical situation. It happened Tuesday night at the Palace Theatre in downtown Cleveland’s Playhouse Square.

Rivera, who burst upon theatrical immortality 50 years ago come September as Anita in “West Side Story,” was there, as it seems she always has been. So were 10 other (younger) dancers and a pit full of musicians.

And out there beyond the footlights, an audience that officially numbered 204 crowded close to the stage and filled the darkness with hoots of joy, bravas! and applause that made up in quality what it might have lacked in quantity.

Another 1,500 not-so-lucky ticket-holders stayed away. (Something or other about the weather, it seems. This just in: It snows in Cleveland in February.)

Those of us who did brave the storm were rewarded with one of the most intimate shows to have ever visited the 2,700-seat Palace in its 80-year history. It was just we few, we happy few, and Chita.

It would be a mistake to categorize “The Dancer’s Life,” now on a short tour after a Tony-nominated run on Broadway that ended a year ago, as one of those sycophantic bio-extravaganzas.

With a cogent script by Terrence McNally, Rivera takes us during the first act on a tour of her life, from dancing on the kitchen table at home to ballet school, to George Balanchine’s attention, to a chance Broadway audition at age 17, thence to stardom.

In Act 2, she introduces us to the men in her life, and the choreographers she loves. And then out on “All That Jazz” from one of her greatest successes, “Chicago.”

Along the way, there is much singing, in that scotch-smoked voice, of classics from her career (“West Side Story,” “Chicago,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Sweet Charity,” “The Rink,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” and on and on), as well as a few less-familiar numbers from the bombs she’s known.

And there is even more dancing, featuring of course her still-shapely legs (the left one of which has 16 screws in it after a 1986 car accident).

The musical numbers have been pared down, in many cases, to snippets and quotes of songs, and director-choreographer Graciela Danielle has tailored the choreography to meet Rivera’s age halfway. One of her supporting dancers occasionally brings the star a glass of water in a champagne flute, and she says “Thank you” every time.

The original music, by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, pales by comparison to the Sondheim and Bernstein and Kander and Ebb, but there’s not enough of it to be bothersome or even distracting, especially when you are riveted on the fire shooting out of Rivera’s eyes.

Deep in Act 2, Rivera recounts the many “rainy matinees” she’s played to half-empty houses, but adds she wouldn’t now give up a single one of them.

At this snowy evening performance, none of us who communed so intimately with a woman whose very presence sums up everything Broadway would have given up a single moment of what will be remembered as one of the fullest nights any of us will ever spend in a theater.

The show must go on, did go on, will always go on. So will Chita Rivera.

 

CHITA IN AN EVENING OF LATIN RHYTHMS

Chita in Latin Rhythms

The worlds of Latin music and Broadway united for
An Evening of Latin Rhythms to benefit Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS at B.B. King Blues Club and Grill on November 20, 2006.

CHITA, who hosted the event, was joined by Daphne Rubin-Vega, Lupita Ferrer, Saundra Santiago, Jimmy Bosch, Allen Hidalgo,Justina Machado, John Herrera, Natalie Toro, Doreen Montalvo and Tony Chiroldes shared the stage with a hot live Latin band. The evening's music was orchestrated and conducted by Grammy Award-winner Ray Santos, recreating a night at the historical Palladium during its heyday in the 1950s. Latin Rhythms' director and choreographer, Richard Amaro partnered Chita and created a night filled with sizzling dance numbers.

(Kentertainment video of Chita and Richard Amaro at Broadwayworld.Com is HOT HOT HOT!)

 

CHITA TO JOIN CHICAGO ANNIVERSARY
Chita will join the cast of the gala 10th anniversary performance of the current Broadway revival of Chicago on November 14, 2006 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ambassador Theatre. Chita, of course, originated the role of Velma Kelly in the original 1975 production, which also starred Gwen Verdon. Other performers will include Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth, James Naughton, Joel Grey, D. Sabella, Marcia Lewis, Kevin Richardson, P.J. Benjamin, John O'Hurley, Obba Bubatunde, Sharon Lawrence, Lynda Carter, Paige Davis, Bianca Marroquin, Chuck Cooper, Christopher MacDonald, Destan Owens, Tom Wopat, Ashlee Simpson, Ron Raines, Gerry McIntyre, Raymond Bokhour, Kevin Carolan, Tom McGowan, Ron Orbach, Bruce Winant, Charlotte d'Amboise, Caroline O'Connor, Brent Barrett, Rob Bartlett, Melanie Griffith, Brooke Shields, Wayne Brady, Marilu Henner, Huey Lewis, Gregory Harrison, and Alan Thicke. Tickets range from $500 - $5,000. For reservations call 212-577-8291 or visit events@safehorizon.org .

CHITA TO RECEIVE ROLEX DANCE AWARD, OCT. 23, 2006
Chita will receive the Rolex Dance Award, at "One World: A Spectacular Global Celebration For Dancers', 21st Annual Jubilee" on October 23, 2006. The event begins at 7 p.m. at New York City Center, 131 West 55 Street. The award ceremony will be followed by an anniversary supper at Hilton New York's Grand Ballroom.
In making the announcement, Allen Brill, President and CEO of Rolex Watch U.S.A., Inc. said, "We are delighted to present the Rolex Dance Award to Chita Rivera, Broadway's most prolific dancer and ambassador. Not only has she dedicated her life to her art, but she has also been a dedicated supporter of Career Transition for Dancers. It is an honor to be celebrating her career and many contributions to the world of dance."
Gala tickets are $600 to $1,000 each; for information, call Marjorie Horne, McEvoy & Assocs. at 212-228-7446, ext. 33. Tickets for the show only will be available at the City Center box office, www.citycenter.org

THE VISIT RE-EMERGES
The Kander & Ebb - Terrence McNally musical version of Durrenmatt's The Visit, which starred Chita at the Goodman Theatre in 2001 but never made it to Broadway will get another go. A revised version of the show, again starring Chita, will play at teh Signature Theatre in Washington, DC. Frank Galati will again direct. Ann Reinking returns as choreographer. The production will open the Signature's 2007-08 season, and will run from September 4 - October 14, 2007. For more information see the PRODUCTIONS section of this web site, or visit www.signature-theatre.org.

 

CHITA WOWS AUSTRALIA!

Chita played the Opera House Studio in Sydney – August 12 & 14 – 19, and Sofitel Supper Club in Melbourne – August 26 – 29, 2006. These performances were her first ever in Australia. Audiences saw the intimate cabaret show Chita first performed at Feinstein's in New York City.

chita leg
Chita flaunts her legs in Melbourne (AP)

A Sampling of Chita's Australian Press:

Sydney Star Observer, July 27, 2006
The Australian, August 8, 2006
Sydney Morning Herald
, August 13, 2006
Sydney Morning Helald, August 14, 2006
The Australian, August 15, 2006
The Age, August 22, 2006
The Age, August 23, 2006

Chita visits Dame Edna, Serge Thomann photo at Broadwayworld. com

 



CHITA TO BE HONORED AT THE NEW DRAMATISTS' LUNCHEON

Chita will be the guest of honor at the New Dramatists 57th Anniversary Spring Luncheon on Thursday, May 18, 2006 in the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

CHITA ATTENDS CLEVELAND ANNOUNCEMENT
Chita was on hand in Cleveland, Ohio on Monday, April 10, 2006, for the announcement of the 2006-2007 season at Playhouse Center Square, which will feature her autobiographical show, Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life. Chita recalled climbing up on the scafolding to help paint some gold trim during Playhouse restoration when she was on tour with Can Can.

CHITA'S TEACHER, MISS JONES, DIES AT 92
Doris W. Jones, Chita 's beloved childhood ballet teacher, and co-founder, with Claire Haywood of the Jone 's-Haywood School of Ballet in Washington , D.C. , died on March 21, 2006 at the age of 92. Chita speaks of her and impersonates her with great affection in a sequence of her autobiographical show, Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life .

KALAMAZOO OPENS IN KALAMAZOO
Kalamazoo
, a film set in the Michigan town of that name, opened in that town on April 6, 2006. Directed by David O'Malley, Kalamazoo tells the story of three women who conspire to steal a time capsule due to be opened at their high school before they are humiliated by their teenaged predictions for the future. Chita, Claire Bloom and Renée Taylor play the spirits of the three women's late grandmothers.

ANTONIO BANDERAS GIVES CHITA CREDIT
Antonio Banderas, who plays a ballroom dance instructor in his new film, Take the Lead, credits his performance with Chita in Nine for his success in the role. I'm not a trained dancer, but most people think I am, he said. But after dancing with Chita Rivera on Broadway for 228 performances, I was willing to give this a shot.


Chita with Dorothy Loudon in Jerry's Girls

"CHITA TO PRESENT AT THEATER HALL OF FAME

Chita will be among the presenters at the Theater Hall of Fame induction ceremony January 30, 2006 at the Gershwin Theatre. The 2005 Theater Hall of Fame inductees include Graciela Daniele, director/choreographer of Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life; and Dorothy Loudon, who co-starred with Chita in Jerry's Girls.

"AMERICA" BEING ADDED TO DANCER'S LIFE
According to Liz Smith of the New York Post (1/11/06), "America," Chita's show-stopping signature number from West Side Story is being rehearsed and will be added to CHITA RIVERA, THE DANCER'S LIFE this weekend.


CHITA TO ADD WEDNESDAY PERFORMANCES
CHITA RIVERA, THE DANCER'S LIFE has added Special Wednesday evening performances 1/18, 1/25, 2/1 and 2/8 at 8pm. Now you can see a special performance at the SPECIAL PRICE of $50.00!

TRANSIT STRIKE CAN'T STOP CHITA
According to playbill.com, the cast and crew of Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life have all made alternate arrangements to get to the theatre during the transit strike. "In her years, Chita has been through many New York emergencies and obstacles and hasn't missed a show yet," said a spokesperson.

CHITA'S "DAZZLING OPENING"
See Bruce Glikas' dazzling photographs of Chita's dazzling opening at www.broadway.com
The audience was a Broadway Who's Who, including:
Michael Ball, Shoshana Bean, Jim Borstelmann, Charles Busch, Mario Cantone, Matt Cavenaugh, Wayne Cilento, Jennifer Cody, Barbara Cook, Deborah S. Craig, Nilo Cruz, Arlene Dahl, Carmen de Lavallade, Tovah Feldshuh, Hunter Foster, Heather Goldenhersh, Geoffrey Holder, Celeste Holm, Gregory Jbara ; Jersey Boys stars Christian Hoff, J. Robert Spencer, John Lloyd Young and Daniel Reichard; John Kander, Judy Kaye, Adriane Lenox, David Leveaux, Donna Marie, Kathleen Marshall, Marin Mazzie, Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Jerry Mitchell, Liliane Montevecchi, Tony Mordente, Matthew Morrison; Donna Murphy, Bebe Neuwirth, Jack O'Brien, Brían O'Byrne, David Hyde Pierce, Jonathan Pryce, Rachelle Rak, Anthony Rapp, Jai Rodriguez, Sara Rodriguez, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Angie Schworer, Marian Seldes, Christopher Sieber, Renee Taylor, Richard Thomas, Tommy Tune, Mario Vasquez, Ben Vereen, and Rachel York .

CHITA'S NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW
Highlights
December 12, 2005

THEATER REVIEW | ' CHITA RIVERA: THE DANCER'S LIFE'

You Just Can't Keep a Good Broadway Diva Down

By BEN BRANTLEY

When Chita Rivera invites you to come on, babe, and help her paint the town, no one with a pulse is going to feel like refusing. Ms. Rivera was the first Velma Kelly, the homicidal hedonist from the Kander-Ebb musical " Chicago " in its first Broadway incarnation in 1975. And when she delivers that show's exultantly jaded theme song, "All That Jazz," at the end of her autobiographical show, "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life," Ms. Rivera makes it quite clear, thank you, that she still owns the part.

Oh, sure, other actresses have done very well by nasty old Velma since Ms. Rivera first embodied her. Bebe Neuwirth won a Tony for the 1996 revival and Catherine Zeta-Jones, an Oscar for the 2002 film version. But all Ms. Rivera has to do is cock a hip, arch an eyebrow and unleash her sinewy alto to prove that her "All That Jazz" is the "All That Jazz." As she finishes the song, she might as well be blowing the smoke off a hot pistol, while imaginary would-be Velmas lie dead at her feet.

She still has the voice, the attitude and - oh yes - the legs to magnetize all eyes in an audience. Directed and choreographed by Graciela Daniele, with a book by Terrence McNally, this evening of song, dance and reminiscence features a backup ensemble of 10 eager young performers (including Liana Ortiz, who plays Ms. Rivera as a child). "The Dancer's Life" remains a must-have ticket for aficionados of the American musical. This is Chita Rivera, after all, the woman who in more than half a century onstage has created roles ranging from Anita in "West Side Story" to the title character of "Kiss of the Spider Woman." When she beckons, Broadway cultists heed the call.

Ms. Rivera's charisma lies in her expert technique and in the infectious pleasure she derives from it. She is a pro's pro in a world of exacting judgments and mythic standards. It feels right that "The Dancer's Life" should present her as the ultimate gypsy made good, the talented trouper who got the right breaks.

The show is most gratifying when it sticks to the highlights of its star's career. How exciting, after all, to hear her re-create her audition for "West Side Story," singing "A Boy Like That" in a voice that sounds remarkably like that of the original cast recording.

Still, even that number is delivered only as a fragment, a dot on the graph of Ms. Rivera's ascent. She does beautifully by songs from the Kander-Ebb shows "The Rink" and "Spider Woman.

Ms. Rivera can convey [choreographic techniques] with a strategic angling of her body or a sweep of her hand? That eloquent body language is at its most expressive in a sequence devoted to the choreographers Ms. Rivera says have defined her: Jack Cole, Jerome Robbins, Peter Gennaro and Bob Fosse, among others. While the backup dancers perform a soft-focus version of what she's describing, Ms. Rivera sustains a blissful, jazzy riff in speech and movement on her choreographic mentors. It's a privilege, as if Jasper Johns were taking you on a personal tour of the Museum of Modern Art .

Let it be said that even when Ms. Rivera reprises numbers she first performed some 50 years ago, like a leering piece sung by French prostitutes from "Seventh Heaven," you don't wince at the ravages of time. Ms. Rivera's tart, angular appeal was never about being young and wide-eyed. On the other hand, as she has gotten older, she still pulses with the ambition and ardor of an eternal Broadway baby - of the same starlight-addicted girl who, as she says, "would have crawled through broken glass" to get a featured role.

CHITA ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO 12/11/05
Today's Nation Public Radio show on Chita is available at www.npr.org

CHITA PRESENTS INAUGURAL FRED EBB AWARD
Chita presented the inaugural Fred Ebb Award for aspiring musical theater songwriters to John Bucchino on November 29, 2005 at a ceremony in The American Airlines Theatre Penthouse Lounge. The award, given by the Fred Ebb Foundation and the Roundabout Theatre Company, includes a $50,000 prize and is intended to "recognize excellence in musical theatre songwriting by a lyricist, composer, or songwriting team that has not yet achieved significant commercial success." Bucchino has contributed to many musicals, including The Artist At 40, Urban Myths and Lavender Girl (which was a one-act musical staged as part of 3hree ). Last year a musical revue of his songs called It's Only Life played as part of New York 's Summer Play Festival. Bucchino is also currently at work with Harvey Fierstein on a new musical called A Catered Affair .

CHITA INTERVIEW IN NEWSDAY
The December 4, 2005 edition of Newsday features an engaging interview with Blake Green who asks:
You're onstage for more than two hours. When it's over, are you exhausted?

No, I'm exhilarated. I feel as if you'd put a plug in a socket and really connected!

ROSIE BLOGS CHITA

Rosie O'Donnell, currently starring as Golde in Fiddler on the Roof on Broadway, attended the Gypsy run through of Chita Rivera: the Dancer's Life, and raved about the experience in her blog at www.rosie.com :

November 22nd, 2005
CHITA
Posted by ro @ 8:02 pm in love

i spent the last 2 hours
in broadway heaven
watching the gypsy run thru
of chita riveras new show
a dancers life

transcendent
i cried beginning to end
as she did what only she can
grace joy determination
a living legend
i adore her
so does all of broadway
the mom we wished for
the performer we long to be

go see it
opens dec 11
previews start soon

it was pure bliss