'America' to Be Added to Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life This Weekend
According to The New York Post's Liz Smith, a new version of "America" will be put into Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life.
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"The number will go into the show sometime this weekend. Cast is in
rehearsal now. The number will go into the West Side Story section in
Act I," according to press agent Rick Miramontez. Rivera created the
role of Anita in the original production of West Side Story and performs
part of "A Boy Like That" (as well as "Somewhere") in The Dancer's Life.
However, "America," her most famous showstopping number from the
Bernstein-Sondheim-Laurents classic, had previously been left out.
According to Smith in the same article, rumors that Rivera and Rita
Moreno (who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the film version) feuded
were false. Fuel was added to feud rumors by a famous Forbidden Broadway parody in which a parodic Rivera asserted "Chita is Chita and not Rita" to the tune of "America." "Last Sunday, it was planned that Rita appear
backstage, surprise Chita and bury the hatchet. Well, let me say there
was no hatchet to bury. And there was no surprise. Rita's presence in
the SRO audience at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre caused such a frenzy
that Chita and the entire company knew what was happening. Rita was
heard telling producer Marty Bell, 'Chita is now the Queen of Musical Theater. She has picked up where Gwen Verdon left off,'" according to Smith.
"The dazzling pair of American-Latino legends met in
Chita's dressing room, and both collapsed into laughter and tears, hugs
In The Dancer's Life, Rivera is joined by a 10-person ensemble comprising Richard
Amaro, Cleve Asbury, Lloyd Culbreath, Jasmine Perri, Madeleine
Kelly, Malinda Farrington, Edgard Gallardo, Deidre Goodwin (who has
also played Velma in Chicago),
Richard Montoya, Lainie Sakakura, Alex Sanchez, and Allyson Tucker, with Liana Ortiz as Young Chita.
The Dancer's Life, which is currently playing at the Schoenfeld Theatre, features a book penned by four-time Tony Award-winner Terrence McNally (who did the same for The Rink in
1984), and boasts direction and choreography by Graciele Daniele (Annie Get Your Gun, Ragtime, Once on This Island).
The Dancer's Life
is billed as a "tour through famous numbers in the American musical
theatre," with Rivera dipping and gliding through dances she's
performed in some of her greatest triumphs. To two new songs by Stephen
Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Dessa Rose),
as well as musical theatre classics, Rivera performs numbers
choreographed by Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, Michael
Kidd and others, among them the "Shriner's Ballet" from Bye, Bye Birdie, "Dance at the Gym" from West Side Story, "All That Jazz" from Chicago and the title song from Kiss of the Spiderwoman. Rivera is backed by 10 ensemble performers, as well.
Arcenas (sets), Toni Leslie James (costumes), Jules Fisher and
Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting) and Scott Lehrer (sound) comprise the
show's design team. Mark Hummell handles the musical direction.
has been a consistent and dynamic presence on Broadway for over half a
century. She most recently starred in the New York-bound Kander and Ebb
musical The Visit at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Rivera is a two-time Tony Award winner for The Rink and Kiss of the Spiderwoman, and also received nods for her performances in Nine (her most recent Broadway appearance), Jerry's Girls, Merlin, Bring Back Birdie, the original production of Chicago and Bye Bye, Birdie. Rivera originated the role of Anita in West Side Story, and has also been seen on Broadway in Can-Can, Mr. Wonderful, Shinbone Alley and Bajour, as well as in touring productions of Pippin and Sweet Charity. Rivera is a 2002 Kennedy Center Honoree.
For tickets and more information, visit www.thedancerslife.com.
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