Artist Bio

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

(Bio as of September 2001)

Chita Rivera most recently appeared at the Goodman in The Visit during the 2001/2002 Season. She has won two Tony Awards as best leading actress in a musical and received five additional Tony nominations. Ms. Rivera created the role of Velma Kelly in the original Broadway production of Chicago opposite Gwen Verdon. She starred as Roxie in the recent London, Las Vegas, and Toronto productions of Chicago-The Musical and toured with her new musical Chita & All That Jazz, a celebration of her life in the theater. This year she starred in Venecia, a new Argentinean play directed by Arthur Laurents at the George Street Playhouse, and as Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at Paper Mill Playhouse. Winner of the 1993 Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway, she began training as a ballerina at age 11, was given a scholarship to the American School of Ballet by George Balanchine, and at age 17 she was cast as principal dancer on Broadway in Call Me Madam. In 1957 her performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her stardom. Her Broadway career is highlighted by starring performances in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink (for which she won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Jerry's Girls, and the Broadway and touring productions of Kander and Ebb's Kiss of the Spider Woman, directed by Harold Prince. She recreated her role of Anita in the original London production of West Side Story and returned to the West End in 1960 as Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. Her earlier Broadway productions include the original casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr Wonderful. On national tour, Chita starred in Born Yester­day, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate and Zorba; and a national tour of Can-Can with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes took her to Japan. Chita also played Nicky in the film version of Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

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