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The League of Professional Theatre Women Presents A Sold Out Oral History With Chita Rivera and Richard Ridge

The League of Professional Theatre Women Presents A Sold Out Oral History With Chita Rivera and Richard Ridge
Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

The League of Professional Theatre Women (Kelli Lynn Harrison & Lisa Rothe, Co-Presidents), presented the final Oral History event of their 2017-18 season with two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera on Monday, May 7th to a packed house.

Richard Ridge, Pat Addiss Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Pat Addiss Chita Rivera

Produced by Co-Chairs Pat Addiss and Sophia Romma, in partnership with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Ms. Rivera talked about her life and illustrious career with Broadway World’s lead correspondent, Richard Ridge, host of Backstage with Richard Ridge.

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Rivera began her stage career with Call Me Madam, which she almost didn’t addition for, but they offered her $250 a week to go on the road with Elaine Stritch. It was her first job with Jerome Robbins.

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

In Can Can with Gwen Verdon, Ms. Verdon gave her courage to find out who she really was. She ended up getting a call by Cy Coleman, Bob Fosse and Gwen asking her to cover Charity on the road. She went on to do the movie with Paula Kelly and Shirley Maclaine. She gushed over how Paula could jump.

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

In winning the role of Anita, Rivera didn’t know she could sing. Leonard Bernstein, taught her, her part on the piano in his apartment. Rivera did not realize they were a show until the Washington, D.C. run of West Side Story, when her song received thunderous applause and stopped the show. “We didn’t know what to do with that,” Rivera stated.

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

Jerome Robbins, “had all the answers, as far as I was concerned.”

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Rivera was thrilled to know and work with John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally, all of whom she said “knew things about me, I didn’t know myself”. Ms. Rivera’s greatest joy came when John Kander gave her, her very own vamp with “All That Jazz.”

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

In talking about Nine, Rivera swooned about Antonio Banderas, “Everything you dreamt about  Antonio Banderas was true.”

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

In working on her piece A Dancer’s Life, Chita stated “God has a way of showing you what you have. Music means everything to me .”

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Pat Addiss, Chita Rivera

In The Visit, with Roger Rees she found a new friend she lost way too soon.

Richard Ridge, Pat Addiss Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Pat Addiss Chita Rivera

“In Kiss of The Spiderwoman, I felt fragmented, until I realized she lived in Brent Carvers mind. This was a story I wanted to make sure was heard.”

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera, Pat Addiss

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera, Pat Addiss

Don’t lose your sense of humor!” is the quote Ms. Rivera lives her life by. In 1986, while in Jerry’s Girls, Ms Rivera’s leg was broken. She didn’t learn until after the X-rays were taken, that she had suffered a broken tibia and fibula. It would take two operations and 16 screws. “Every single day you are different. Laying on that bed, I was watching my body mend itself. I’ve been in the business for a long time, and it’s been very good to me, so I would just like to tell the universe ‘Thank You’”.

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Richard Ridge, Chita Rivera

Despite working more than 60 years on Broadway, Chita Rivera never thought she would receive a lifetime achievement Tony Award, much less one alongside Andrew Lloyd Webber. But if you ask Ms. Rivera what her most treasured production is that would be her daughter Lisa Mordente, a singer, dancer and choreographer in her own rights.

James T Kelly, Chita Rivera, Richard Ridge, Richard Jay Alexander

James T Kelly, Chita Rivera, Richard Ridge, Richard Jay Alexander

Ms Rivera was touching, personable and above everything else, hilarious. I wish one of the producers in the league would create a comedy around this talented artist. Now that would sell out as well.

Thank-you to the League of Professional Theatre Women for an amazing event.

 

 

 

Theater

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. Currently she has a screenplay in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She was the Broadway Informer on the all access cable TV Show “The New Yorkers,” soon to be “The Tourist Channel.” email: suzanna@t2conline.com

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