Chita Rivera and Seth Rudetsky Take The Stage At The Smith Center
The Smith Center for the Performing Arts never fails to bring the world's greatest performers to Las Vegas. Audience members truly received a rare treat as Broadway icons Chita Rivera and Seth Rudetsky took the stage at Reynolds Hall, delightfully entertaining their fans with their world renowned talent. The performance was staged in talk show style, complete with two comfortable chairs and coffee cups in hand. Rivera, a two-time Tony Award winning triple threat dazzled the audience with reprisals of many iconic songs, and with Sirius XM radio star Rudetsky assuming the role of interviewer and accompanist, the two collectively created stage magic. They chatted back and forth about many of Rivera's greatest roles spanning several decades, and featured a montage of songs from some of her favorite productions in each segment.
Rivera opened the show with an exciting cover of "A Lot of Livin' To Do" from BYE BYE BIRDIE, followed by "An English Teacher" for which she stated she received hundreds of letters from English teachers across the nation thanking her for paying homage to what is often times an overlooked profession. She then moved on to WEST SIDE STORY and shared the songs that celebrated her very favorite role, Anita. Her renditions of "A Boy Like That" and "America," complete with accented dance moves, had the audience thoroughly entertained. Rudetsky then joined the Broadway diva in two classic duets; "Class" from CHICAGO and "The Apple Doesn't Fall (Very Far From The Tree)" from THE RINK, the production that earned Rivera her first Tony Award for her role of Anna. These tunes each allowed the Broadway legends to show off their comedic side, and were most definitely audience pleasers. The duets were followed by Rivera singing "There's Gotta Be Something Better Than This" from SWEET CHARITY, a production she performed in during the show's tour, as well as acted in for the film version. She then went on to sing the title song from KISS OF THE SPIDERWOMAN for which she won her second Tony Award for her portrayal of Aurora.
With each song, Rivera wowed the audience with her incredible dance ability, and her closing number, a fantastic rendition of "All That Jazz," as well as an encore of "Nowadays," both from CHICAGO, brought the audience members to their feet.
In addition to performing Broadway smash hits, Rivera also shared some of her life stories, beginning with when she did a ballet audition for George Balanchine's School of American Ballet in New York which was subsequently responsible for her move from Washington DC to NYC when she was 15. She relayed stories from her past with Liza Minnelli, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Fosse, Stephen Sondheim and many other Broadway icons, as well as some of her most memorable achievements, including being the recipient of a Kennedy Center Honors Award in 2002, and receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2009.
Rivera's undying passion and zest for the arts is contagious. One of her most inspiring topics of discussion was her advice on the divide of actors, singers, and dancers. She told the audience several times that dancers should not be just limited to dance, and that singers should not be limited to just singing. She is proof that these very things are possible, and stressed this directly to the performers in the audience, both young and old alike. Rivera is truly lovely, and when combining her grace, honesty and wit with Rudetsky's interviewing prowess and charm, the two together were a perfect fit. The show was delightful, and I must say that I had a most enjoyable, definitely memorable afternoon.
"When love comes so strong, there is no right or wrong, your love is your life." -Stephen Sondheim