After completing a cross-country tour of Call Me Madam, Chita returned to New York to replace Onna White as a principal dancer in Guys and Dolls. Following Guys and Dolls, Chita joined the cast of the original Broadway company of Can-Can, in which her friend, Gwen Verdon, first achieved stardom.

In 1988, Chita would star in an international tour of Can-Can, with Ron Holgate and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, directed by Dallett Norris with choreography by Alan Johnson. This was Chita’s first major tour subsequent to an automobile accident in which she broke her leg. Can-Can proved that Chita was back!

Music and Lyrics By Cole Porter
Book By Abe Burrows
Produced by Cy Feuer & Ernest Martin
Directed by Abe Burrows
Choreography by Michael Kidd
Opened May 7, 1953 at the Schubert Theater (New York) and ran for 892 Performances.

Synopsis
The story is set in the year 1893 and tells the tale of La Mome Pistache who is upset about the investigation of her Bal Du Paradis, where the major attraction is the Can-Can. She tries to seduce the highly moral investigating judge Aristide Forestier. The two eventually fall in love and when her case comes to trial, Aristide takes over the defence and wins the acquittal.
Song List
• Never Give Anything Away
• I Love Paris
• Come Along With Me
• Come Along With Me Reprise
• Live and Let Live
• C'est Magnifique
• Maidens Typical Of France
• Quadrille
• Allez-Vous En, Go Away
• Never Never Be An Artist
• I Am In Love
• If You Loved Me Truly
• Every Man Is A Stupid Man
• Montmart'
• Can-Can
• It's All Right With Me
• Never, never be an artist
• You do something to me
• Let's do it
• Just one of those things
• Why shouldn't I
• The Cocotte
• You don't know Paree
• Absinthe
• All of you
• Nobody's chasing me
• A Good Lawyer, a Good Neighbor
• Because Its Illegal

Info
Original Cast Included: Lilo, Peter Cookson, Hans Conried, Gwen Verdon, Erik Rhodes, Dania Krupska, Phil Leeds, DeeDee Wood – and Chita Rivera.

 

Gwen Verdon -- dancer, actress
b. Jan. 13, 1926 (Culver City, CA) - d. Oct. 17, 2000 (Woodstock, VT)
As a chorus dancer at MGM , Gwen Verdon helped Carol Haney dub the taps for Gene Kelly in the title sequence of Singin' in the Rain. After a show-stealing appearance in Broadway's Can-Can (1953), in which Chita had a chorus role, Verdon was featured in a triumphant series of musicals staged by Bob Fosse. Her combination of vulnerability and seductiveness made her the prototypical Fosse dancer.
Verdon starred as Lola in Damn Yankees (1955 - the only stage role she repeated on film), Anna in New Girl In Town (1957), and Essie in Redhead (1959). She won a Tony for each of her four 1950's musicals -- an accomplishment no other performer has ever matched. Verdon returned to Broadway in Sweet Charity (1966) in which Chita succeeded her. Chita played Nickie in the film version, directed by Fosse, with Shirley Maclaine taking over Verdon’s role. Verdon’s final Broadway show was Chicago (1975) in which she co-starred as Roxie Hart, opposite Chita’s Velma Kelly. In her later years, Verdon appeared in several noteworthy films including Cocoon (1985) and The Cotton Club (1984).


Broken leg be damned!
The Rockettes sweat to keep up with the legendary Chita Rivera in the touring revival of Cole Porter's
Can-Can.

 

Chita in the chorus of the original 1953 Broadway production of Cole Porter's Can-Can.


Chita with Ron Holgate in the 1988 tour of Can-Can.