It seems fitting that the final Broadway performer in my list of 50 Amazing Broadway Performers in 50 Weekdays should be the amazing Chita Rivera, who has not only appeared in some of the most successful Broadway shows in the past forty years but is still performing and wowing audiences today.
I need to be honest and say that I’m not all that familiar with Rivera’s talents. Despite her success in the business for all these years, she’s never had significant roles in movies I’ve seen, and I don’t even own any CDs with her performances. Of course, I’ve heard her comedic work in Bye Bye Birdie many times (her “Normal American Boy” is comedic genius) as well as her Anita in West Side Story, but since these are not shows I particularly enjoy, I don’t own the CDs and therefore cannot generate any insights.
But just looking at the body of work this woman has amassed—including Bajour, Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Nine, and A Dancer’s Life—I hope I someday soon get to see her perform in person. In thinking of Chita Rivera, it is almost like reading about some to-die-for delicacy in a foreign land available only for a season. I just have to be in New York during the right season!
Performers of that caliber, who not only are talented but tenacious enough to survive that long in this business, are rare. For an actor, you develop your talents by doing your craft. In a city where there are 17,000 Equity actors, not many people get the chance to perfect their craft to that extent and to keep performing. No wonder she’s earned such a reputation.
Unofficial Website: http://www.chitarivera.com/
the Broadway Mouth
September 21, 2007