BWW Reviews: Chita Rivera's CHITA! AND NOW I SING!
Chita Rivera is one of Broadway's most accomplished performers and is entering her seventh decade in the industry; no mean feat for any artist. She has no intention of retiring either and is currently starring in the Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
This recording - released on February 25 - is a celebration of her career and her recent 80th birthday. The CD features remastered versions of her debut solo albums, 'Chita!' and 'And Now I Sing!' which were originally out in 1962 and 1963 respectively. Both have a very different essence to them; 'Chita!' has a fuller sound and features orchestrations by Alyn Ainsworth and 'And Now I Sing!' is much more intimate and understated and is produced by Joe Cain.
Rivera is a household name to any musical theatre fan and this recording has been eagerly awaited. Upon listening to the CD, it is very pleasant and highlights Rivera's versatility. Personally though, I feel Rivera excels more in the sassy and fiery roles such as in 'Chicago', 'West Side Story' and 'Kiss of the Spiderwoman'; none of which feature on this recording and this edge is sorely missed. Clearly Rivera found this side later on in her career as this CD is generally quite underwhelming.
Glimmers of this Rivera do appear in 'An Occasional Man' from The Girl Rush and 'Old Devil Moon' from Finian's Rainbow which are personal highlights. Much of the recording moves along at a static pace and there isn't a great deal of light and shade throughout. This said, it is easy listening and the remastered production of the album is superb.
Chita Rivera's album, 'Chita! And Now We Sing!' is out on Monday and is available from www.stagedoorrecords.com.
Photo: Stage Door Records