2006 Tony Awards Q&A: Chita Rivera

A legend in every sense of the word, Chita Rivera, most recently appeared on Broadway in Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life. She has previously won two Tony Awards (Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Rink) and received six additional Tony nominations. In December, 2002, she received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, DC. Ms. Rivera created the role of Velma Kelly in the original Broadway production of Chicago opposite Gwen Verdon (1975) and appears in the film version. Chita starred in the London, Las Vegas and Toronto productions of Chicago The Musical. Her recent starring roles include the revival of the musical Nine with Antonio Banderas, the new Kander/Ebb/McNally musical The Visit and The House of Bernarda Alba. Chita trained as a ballerina (age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from the legendary George Balanchine. Her first appearance (age 17) was in the chorus of Call Me Madam. Her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story (1957) brought her stardom, which was repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie and Jerry's Girls (original Broadway casts), Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful. On tour: Born Yesterday; The Rose Tattoo; Call Me Madam; Threepenny Opera; Sweet Charity; Kiss Me, Kate; Zorba; and Can-Can with the Rockettes.

How did you hear about the news?

I was awakened by one of our producers Joan McGinnis, right after the nominations came out.

And what was your first reaction?

Oh, that's nice… This is a first for me and I didn't think that there could be a first after all these years!

Having been down this road several times before, does this year's nomination feel any different for you?

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Robert Diamond Robert Diamond founded BroadwayWorld.com in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 30 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more.

The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.

Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)

As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the BroadwayWorld.com 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.

Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week.

Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on BroadwayWorld.com and he also writes weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.

In December of last year, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.